SEM217: Steven Thorley, Brigham Young University

Tuesday, February 2nd @ 11:00-12:30 PM (ONLINE)

Risk Management and the Optimal Combination of Equity Market Factors

Steven Thorley, Brigham Young University

ABSTRACT: Managing the intertemporal risk of optimally constructed multifactor portfolios adds to performance.  The increases in Sharpe ratios are in addition to the utility that investors gain from controlling how much active risk they are exposed to over time.  We derive a simple closed-form formula for security weights in optimal multifactor portfolios with an active-risk target. We test the risk control of five well-known factors—value, momentum, small size, low beta, and profitability—and the optimal multifactor portfolio. Our empirical research was carried out on the large-capitalization US equity market for 1966 through 2019. We conclude that for the equity market, more active factors are better than fewer if each subportfolio is “pure” as to factor, anchored to the benchmark, and combined on the basis of forecastable risks. Our portfolio construction methodology allows for transparent performance attribution and replication of the process in other markets and time periods.

Paper | Recording