Concepts

Below is a collection of articles that clarify and expand upon some of the most important issues at the heart of good investment management. All graphs used to illustrate these concepts were created using StyleADVISOR and AllocationADVISOR. To view these articles simply click on the link for the desired article.

Attribution Analysis

To what do we attribute a manager's performance? Is it stock picking, investing in the right style, or market timing? Were certain sectors over or underweighted? These are the questions that attribution analysis attempts to answer.

Benchmarks

At the heart of a quality manager analysis is a good benchmark. According to AIMR, in order for a benchmark to be a valid and effective tool for measuring a manager’s performance, it must be unambiguous, investable, measurable, appropriate, reflective of current investment opinions and specified in advance. A benchmark with all of these characteristics is the “style benchmark,” which is explained in this article.

Asset Allocation

All investors are asset allocators. If you put your entire investable funds into Treasury bills you have made an asset allocation decision. Asset allocation is how one decides to allocate assets among various asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and cash.

Mutual Fund Analysis

Mutual fund analysis, both qualitative and quantitative, attempts to identify skillful active managers. The two biggest mistakes in quantitative mutual fund analysis are improper benchmarking and end point bias. How can you avoid these mistakes?

Peer Group Analysis

Investors often try to gauge a manager’s skill by comparing the manager’s performance to the performance of a group of similar managers. This is typically called a “universe” or “peer group” analysis. Zephyr Associates has developed an improved way of presenting universe groups which is detailed in this article.

Style Analysis

Most managers have an investment philosophy that leads to a process for building portfolios. That process causes the portfolio’s returns to behave in a certain way. This behavior is what we call style. There are two ways to determine a manager's style of investing, holdings-based style analysis or returns-based style analysis. We believe that returns-based style analysis is best and explain why in this article.

Hedge Fund Analysis

The issue of analyzing hedge funds has become more and more relevant in recent years. Information about hedge funds is often hard to come by and difficult to evaluate. Statistics like downside deviation and kurtosis are interesting, but don’t necessarily get to the heart of what a manager is doing.
 
 
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