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Measuring the Ivy 2017: A Year in the Upside Down for Endowment Returns

Summary While stranger things have happened, this year’s big winners and the factor exposures that drove their returns were certainly atypical. Overall, the Ivies reversed the disappointing results of FY 2016, with all registering positive returns and all but Harvard beating the 60-40 portfolio (only the second time that’s happened since 2009). Traditional under-performers outperformed, […]

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Does Risk Parity Maximize Risk-adjusted Returns?

While it is well known that risk parity strategies typically allocate more weight or apply leverage to asset classes with lower risk, it is not well understood how higher volatility affects the Sharpe ratios exhibited by the assets that get over- or under- weighted.  We find that in practice the strategy increases an asset’s weight […]

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Have Endowments Adopted The Yale Model?

Using MPI’s Common Style to Understand the Endowment Landscape   Dispersion of 2016FY Results With limited data and only general information about their actual allocations, it can be difficult to identify the causes of the wide dispersion in the returns of endowments in 2016. Note the large spread between the highest and lowest performing endowments […]

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Standard Life GARS Fund: MPI’s Factor X-ray

The £27bn Standard Life Global Absolute Return Fund (SLI GARS) has been renowned as a leading absolute return UCITS/mutual fund since its inception in 2008. However, recently its performance reversed from the peak reached in April of 2015. Using SLI GARS’ weekly performance data, we demonstrate how sophisticated factor analysis techniques can provide valuable insights […]

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Ivy League Endowments 2016 Performance Review

An 1873 meeting that brought Harvard, Yale and Princeton together to codify the rules of American football also debuted a sports conference later known as the “Ivy League — eight elite institutions whose heritage, dating from pre-Revolutionary times, became formative influences shaping American character and culture.  These schools also pioneered endowment investment management, thus helping […]

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Lower Volatility Smart Beta Funds – A Safe Haven in Turbulent Times? Part 2 of a Series on Multifactor Smart Beta ETFs

Smart Beta funds are hot. According to ETF.com, more than half of the 150 funds launched in 2016 implemented smart beta strategies.  For the year to June 30, 2016, ETFGI’s most recent data show that assets in smart beta funds have a five-year annual compound growth rate of 31.3 percent. And, low volatility funds, up […]

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Is there more liquidity danger in High Yield Bond Funds? Check with Durbin-Watson.

In the winter of 2015, an almost unheard of situation happened. A mutual fund, normally required to guarantee daily liquidity, blocked its clients from withdrawing money. The Third Ave Focused Credit Fund (TFCIX), citing losses and a lack of liquidity in the high yield bond market, put some of its assets into a trust to […]

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Like That 40% Return? Better Understand Risks First.

A July 20th WSJ article featured Quantedge Capital, a quantitative global macro hedge fund manager that gained 40% after fees year-to-date through June. The fund’s 2016 performance is outstanding indeed, as compared with major asset classes in the chart below (here and below we use the fund’s performance data from Eurekahedge):  According to the investor […]

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How Much Equity is in Your Target Date Fund (TDF)? Brexit Might Have the Answer.

Target Date Funds stumbled hard in 2008 when near-dated funds failed to provide the capital protection they were meant to for investors approaching retirement.  ‘Brexit’ may not be a Lehman Brothers-scale event, but it can certainly serve notice of some of the risks currently being assumed in near-dated Target Date Funds.  Below we illustrate how […]

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Risk Parity and Brexit: A Volatility Surprise!

Risk parity strategies hold the promise of smooth sailing through periods of market turbulence, offering consistent performance via risk diversification. And prior to Brexit, risk parity funds had done quite well to reverse most of last year’s losses, displaying similar performance patterns despite the difference in strategy implementation or exposure and dynamics as reported by […]

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