Displaying items by tag: low vol
With the proliferation of ETFs and model portfolios and the growing amount of assets flowing into them, more and more AUM has been going into low vol and other risk management-oriented strategies. This is doubly true with the big volatility of the last year. However, a small cautionary tale to share today. If you take a look at LVHD, a popular “low volatility high dividend” ETF from Legg Mason, you see a fund that has significantly underperformed the S&P 500 and failed to protect investors from volatility. It is hard to know exactly why because the fund’s proprietary methodology is not transparent. However, even that fact is representative of the space. In their rush to defend against downside, many low vol ETFs and models can inadvertently and drastically underperform and expose investors to very low risk-return profiles.
FINSUM: What you get is not always what is being sold, so when choosing low vol products, make sure to pay significant attention to methodology and track record, especially during periods of volatility.
Low volatility stocks aren’t behaving the way they are suppose to right now, but that is what makes them interesting. Stocks chosen because of their generally low volatility tend to perform poorly in up markets as their low beta means they underperform benchmarks. But the nature of this year’s rally has defied that idea. Stocks are up 18% this year, but there are still many worries about the economy, the combination of which has given a big boost to otherwise boring stocks. Even during the losses of May to June, low vol stocks barely lost anything even though the market plunged.
FINSUM: There are a number of low vol funds like USMV and SPLV which are good choices for this area. These stocks seem like they have found a sweet spot in the current market environment.