Smart Beta 2016

A row broke out this year when a pioneer in the sector warned that as smart beta funds grow in size, certain products could go ‘horribly wrong’. Funds Europe looks at what lay behind the controversy – and asks what safeguards there are for investors.

The problem with backing a smart beta factor – such as a low volatility fund, for example – is that the factor could become more expensive as it gains in popularity, eroding any advantages, say experts.

The use of smart beta investing continues to grow. Our panel, made up of both providers and users, discusses what the strategy actually means, how it should be used and the kind of pitfalls that may arise when using this innovative investment technique.

There is no doubt that Smart Beta ETFs are gaining traction in Europe. In June 2016, they reached €19.7 billion in Assets under Management, up 31% versus the end of 20151. In this article we look at what is driving the rise, and how investors could capitalise on it.

Smart beta has its roots in equity investment but is also making headway in fixed income. Some providers suggest it could even be better suited to capturing bond market factors. Funds Europe explains.

Manuela Sperandeo tells Funds Europe why the rationale for smart beta investing is as strong as ever and is here to stay.

Renowned economist Bill Sharpe said the term smart beta ‘makes him sick’. Even some of its practitioners are uncomfortable with it. Kit Klarenberg investigates why people cannot agree on the right way to name the vehicle.

It’s often asserted that multi-factor smart beta strategies can perform in all market conditions, but are such forecasts credible, or pure hot air? Kit Klarenberg investigates.

Sponsored Profiles

SPONSORED FEATURE: Alternative thinking

Mar 16, 2017

Portfolio Manager Davide Cataldo discusses the results of the Pioneer Investments’ survey on liquid alternatives and how investors can be encouraged to increase their allocation.

SPONSORED FEATURE: Interest rate risk hedging: Swapping to other options

Mar 16, 2017

Heightened margin requirements for cleared and uncleared OTC derivatives pose a challenge for legitimate hedging activities and are driving financial institutions to explore alternative hedging...

SPONSORED FEATURE: Why blockchain could be the fund industry’s next Ford Model T

Mar 16, 2017

Blockchain aims to radically change the way investors can access funds, says Olivier Portenseigne, Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer of Fundsquare.

SPONSORED FEATURE: Open architecture: In need of protection

Mar 16, 2017

Greater efficiency must be embraced to ensure regulatory changes do not destroy choice for fund buyers, says Bernard Tancré of Clearstream.

Executive Interviews

INTERVIEW: Finding managers that can (and do)

Apr 18, 2017

Fabrice Kremer, a fund selector at Banque de Luxembourg Investments, has berated fundamental managers for failing to beat indices, but he remains committed to active funds. He speaks to Nick...

JERSEY INTERVIEW: ‘A steady sort of place’

Mar 21, 2017

The chief executive of Jersey Finance is keen to portray the island as a stable, trustworthy jurisdiction. He talks to George Mitton.

Roundtables

ROUNDTABLE: The issue is perception

Mar 21, 2017

Our panel discuss tax transparency, the elegance of private placement and why Jersey could do more to promote itself. Chaired by Tom Cowsill in Saint Helier.

ASSET SERVICING ROUNDTABLE: Under pressure

Mar 07, 2017

Funds Europe speaks to leading Luxembourg industry figures about the growing regulatory demands on asset servicers and how to remain profitable in spite of major investments in technology.