Traditional style indexes – such as growth and value, large and small cap – are designed to represent broad market segments based on investment styles and sets of characteristics that are focused on by professional investment managers, making them excellent benchmarks for evaluating the skill of active managers.
In 1995, Nomura Research Institute and Frank Russell Company’s index group partnered to create the Russell/Nomura Japan Equity Indexes (RNJEI) as benchmarks for the Japanese equity market. The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the RNJEI series and provides a good opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the indexes.
The RNJEI series was created to accomplish several objectives:1
In finance and investment theory, factors are variables that drive equity returns. In recent decades there has been great interest in identifying factors that help explain equities’ behavior, and factor research has been actively pursued across other asset classes, such as fixed income and currencies.
Recent volatility in the value of the euro, Swiss franc and Japanese yen suggest that risk in global currency markets may be on the rise. The currency market is the world’s largest financial market and, with the ongoing globalization of portfolio exposures, is becoming an increasingly important component of investors’ returns. However, if investors share their currency exposures with those implicit in their equity, fixed income or other benchmarks, they may be setting their currency policy unconsciously, rather than consciously.
An equity factor index is intended to offer controlled exposure to a factor or factors. But how does it achieve this goal in practice? There are a number of conceptual and design steps involved in the creation of an equity factor index and in this paper we explore these decisions.
The earth is flat . . . or so it was believed, until sometime after 500 B.C.1 Until then, explorers dared not venture too far, for fear of reaching the physical limits of the planet and . . . falling off. It’s easy to imagine how constrained the world must have seemed to those who held this view. Equity indexing, too, has had its own “flat earth” period, when the global opportunity set seemed to be limited to the largest stocks from a select number of large countries.
Capitalisation weighted indexes are considered to be representative of the broad market opportunity set and are characterised by high levels of liquidity, investment capacity and relatively low levels of turnover. However, concentration risks that may arise during market bubbles and the inherent factor traits of capitalisation weighted indexes have prompted alternative approaches to index construction, with the resulting indexes commonly referred to as “smart beta”. Smart beta indexes encompass both alternatively weighted and factor indexes.
An investor can face a dilemma when looking for assistance in building an investment portfolio. Myriad sources offer advice, often rendering the decisions to be made difficult at best. Soldiering on with the advice and reading through literature, the investor will fairly soon come across a discussion on volatility, as reducing portfolio volatility has been a notable recent theme. Reading on, the investor will shortly realize that although sometimes considered together as “low volatility” strategies, the two most commonly-stated strategies for volatility are very different.
London Stock Exchange Group has reached an agreement with Citigroup Inc. to acquire The Yield Book and Citi Fixed Income Indices, a fixed income analytics platform and index business comprising a family of fixed income indices (including the WGBI) for a total cash consideration of $685 million (£535 million), subject to customary adjustments. Subject to regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions, the transaction is anticipated to close in the second half of 2017.
FTSE Russell and Bursa Malaysia have launched two new indexes, which will track mid and small-cap companies. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia MidS Cap Index comprises constituents from the FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Index with a full market capitalisation range of MYR 200 million to MYR 2 billion, subject to buffers applied to provide stability in the selection of constituents at the semi-annual reviews. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia MidS Cap Shariah Index consists of all constituents of the FTSE Bursa Malaysia MidS Cap Index that are Shariah compliant according to the Shariah Advisory Council screening methodology.
By: Catherine Yoshimoto, senior index product manager
The Russell Equal Weight Index Series applies a two-tiered equal weighting methodology – first, to equally weight each sector and then to apply an equal weighting to each constituent within that sector resulting in increased diversification.
The FTSE Russell Smart Beta: 2017 Global Survey Findings from Asset Owners report has revealed growing interest in both smart beta and sustainability investing over the last few years. Now there is a way to combine the two strategies that could maximize the desired exposures.
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