The NY Times Likes Pimco, AQR, DFA and ETFs
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Monday, October 08, 2012

The NY Times Likes Pimco, AQR, DFA and ETFs

A number of fund firms get their two cents in a New York Times article on the subject of low-volatility investing.

The firms include Acadian Asset Management [profile], PIMCO [profile], Analytic Investors [profile], Dimensional Fund Advisors [profile], and AQR Capital Management [profile]. The article also took at gander at BlackRock's iShares [profile] and Invesco's PowerShares [profile].

The article chipped away somewhat at the formerly inviolate investment rule that "risk and return are inextricably linked."

It does so by citing a study published in The Journal of Portfolio Management which reports that from 1968 through 2005,  the least volatile stocks among a universe of  the 1,000 largest issues had an annualized return that was nearly one percentage point more, on average, than the return of that universe, and had about 25 percent less volatility.

“We are not arguing that risk and return are not related,” says Harindra de Silva, co-author of the research paper and president of Analytic Investors. “What we are showing is that risk within an asset class is where low volatility comes into play.”

Another study, published last year in Financial Analysts Journal, looked at data from 1968 through 2008 and came to a similar conclusion. “When you look back over history, there isn’t a pattern of higher returns from higher-risk stocks,” says Malcolm Baker, a Harvard Business School finance professor and a co-author of that paper. The strategy is also effective in international stock markets, both developed and emerging.

To learn more about the debate, read the New York Times article.

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