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Suppressing Long-side Factor Premium Frictions

March 28, 2023 • Posted in Equity Premium, Investing Expertise

Are their practical ways to suppress the sometimes large reduction in academic (gross) equity factor premiums due to trading frictions and other implementation obstacles? In their March 2023 paper entitled “Smart Rebalancing”, Robert Arnott, Feifei Li and Juhani Linnainmaa first examine the performance and related turnover of seven long-only factor premiums: annually reformed (end of June) value, profitability, investment, and a composite of the three; and, monthly reformed value and momentum, and a composite of the two. Their long-only factor portfolios hold market-weighted stocks in the top fourth of factor signals. They reinvest any dividends in all stocks in the portfolios, such that dividends do not affect portfolio weights. They test three ways to suppress periodic turnover via a turnover limit:

  1. Proportional Rebalancing – trade all stocks proportionally to meet the turnover limit.
  2. Priority Best – buy stocks with the strongest factor signals and sell stocks with the weakest, until reaching the turnover limit.
  3. Priority Worst – buy stocks that only marginally qualify for the factor portfolio and sell those that just barely fall out (with the strongest buy and sell signals last), until reaching the turnover limit.

They also apply these three turnover suppression tactics to non-calendar reformation, triggered when the difference between the current and target portfolios exceeds a specified threshold. They ignore the 100% initial formation turnover common to all portfolios. UsingĀ  accounting data and common stock returns for all U.S. publicly listed firms during July 1963 through December 2020, with portfolio tests commencing July 1964, they find that: (more…)

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