Research showing that the lowest-risk stocks tend to outperform the highest-risk stocks over time has led to rapid growth in so-called low-risk equity investing in recent years. The authors examined the performance of both the low-risk strategy previously considered in the literature and a beta-neutral low-risk strategy that is more relevant in practice. They found that the historical performance of low-risk investing, like that of any quantitative investment strategy, is time varying. They also found that both low-risk strategies exhibit dynamic exposure to the well-known value, size, and momentum factors and appear to be influenced by the overall economic environment. Their results suggest that time variation in the performance of low-risk strategies is probably influenced by the approach to constructing the low-risk portfolio strategy and by the market environment and associated valuation premiums.

About the Author(s)

Image of Luis Garcia Feijóo
Luis Garcia-Feijóo CFA, CIPM

Dr. Luis García-Feijóo, CFA, CIPM, is an associate professor of finance at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where he teaches investments and international finance. He also serves as associate editor of the Financial Analysts Journal and as associate research director for CFA Institute Research Foundation. Prior to joining FAU, Dr. García worked as director, exam development, at CFA Institute, and was an associate professor at Creighton University. He has published his research in leading academic and practitioner journals, such as the Journal of Finance, Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Journal of Banking and Finance, Financial Analysts Journal, and Journal of Portfolio Management. Dr. García is co-author of the book Invest with the Fed: How to Maximize Portfolio Performance following Federal Reserve Policy. He holds a PhD in finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. García actively served on the Board of Directors of the CFA Society of South Florida from 2009 to 2014 and has been an active volunteer for CFA Institute since 2009.

Lawrence Kochard
Rodney N. Sullivan CFA
Peng Wang CFA

Peng Wang, CFA, is head of portfolio research at TIAA Endowment & Philanthropic Services, Houston.

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