With movie awards season around the corner, some entertainment pundits may use the term “category fraud” to describe races in…
As 2016 performance trickled in, the depth and prevalence of underperformance became very apparent. What made 2016 such a particularly difficult year for active management? Many have cited the tumultuous events throughout the year ranging from the market dip and subsequent recovery in the first quarter, to the Brexit, to the unexpected Trump victory. Rapidly reacting and adapting to these market changes — let alone capturing any alpha — was incredibly challenging.
Notably, quantitative strategies seemed to have an easier time reacting to these events than fundamental strategies. Quantitative, or “quant,” strategies rely heavily on statistical and mathematical screens and indicators which largely remove human emotion and judgment from the equation. These models arguably enabled portfolios to recognize the surprise market events of 2016 and adapt much more quickly than fundamental strategies. However, while quant strategies largely proved successful relative to their fundamental counterparts in 2016 during an array of smaller disruptive events, this pattern is not proven to hold during severe inflection points.
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