Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

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Random Walker
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Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:06 am

http://www.etf.com/sections/index-inves ... nopaging=1

In this article Larry discusses several articles describing risk stories behind the value premium. He also discusses the behavioral story a bit as well. As many have read before, he says value premium is not a free lunch but perhaps a free stop at the dessert tray. I believe the value premium has been about as persistent as the market factor. The fact that value has both risk based and behavioral based sources makes me a strong believer in it.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by jalbert » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:54 pm

The fact that value has both risk based and behavioral based sources makes me a strong believer in it.
The behavioral driver of value returns is an unsubstantiated theory.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Top99% » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:07 am

Random Walker wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:06 am
http://www.etf.com/sections/index-inves ... nopaging=1

In this article Larry discusses several articles describing risk stories behind the value premium. He also discusses the behavioral story a bit as well. As many have read before, he says value premium is not a free lunch but perhaps a free stop at the dessert tray. I believe the value premium has been about as persistent as the market factor. The fact that value has both risk based and behavioral based sources makes me a strong believer in it.

Dave
I am with you on the value premium. To me it is the most intuitive factor after market beta. After living through two bubbles I am also convinced that markets can stray from purely efficient pricing at times.
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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:13 am

Random Walker wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:06 am
... I believe the value premium has been about as persistent as the market factor...
"Persistent" doesn't necessarily mean "important." Harold Stassen ran for President nine times so he was certainly a persistent candidate, but he was never an important candidate.

I don't quite see how Swedroe gets from a long description of complete disagreement between financial economists to a conclusion that "there are simple and logical risk-based explanations for the existence of a value premium," but let's take it that the explanation is mostly risk. The problem with that from the standpoint of taking action is that if the value factor is just reward for risk, then there's no particular reason to want it in a portfolio--there's no difference from just increasing risk by increasing stock allocation--unless you can show a powerful, persistent, robust low-correlation effect between value stocks and the market as a whole. Well, I don't think you can. The point is: if it is a risk story, then it reduces to a correlation story. According to the 2015 Ibbotson SBBI Classic Yearbook, p. 120, the correlation between Fama-French large growth and large value, 1928-2014, has been 0.81; between small growth and small value, 0.87. That's not impressively low.

You end up with Fama's statement, in a video which regrettably is no longer available on Dimensional's website, but which has been accurately transcribed in forum postings here:
Interviewer: Some people cite your research showing that value and small firms have higher average returns over time and they assume that you would recommend most investors have a big helping of small and value stocks in their portfolios. Is that a fair representation of your views?

Fama: Um, no. (Laughs) Basically this a risk story the way we tell it, so there is no optimal portfolio. The way I like to talk about it when I give presentations for DFA or other people is, in every asset pricing model, the market portfolio is always an efficient portfolio. It's always a relevant portfolio for an investor to hold. And investors can decide to tilt away from that based on their personal tastes. But that's what it amounts to. You can decide to tilt toward more value or smaller size based on your tastes for these dimensions of risk. But you needn't do it. You could also decide to go the other way. You could look at the premiums and say, no, I think I like the growth stocks better. Then, as long as you get a diversified portfolio of them, I can't argue with that either. So there's a whole multi-dimensional continuum here of efficient portfolios that anybody can decide to buy that I can't quarrel with. And I have no recommendations about because I think it's totally a matter of taste. If you eat oranges and I eat apples I can't really quarrel very much with that.
Now, I'm not sure I understand that, but I certainly can understand the part where he laughs at the suggestion that Fama "would recommend most investors have a big helping of small and value stocks in their portfolios." I think what he is saying is that the pattern of risk, the times when value stocks perform well, is different from the pattern of the whole market, and that it is possible for an investor to prefer that pattern over the whole market pattern and, if they happen to prefer it, then they should overweight value stocks. But as I read it, according to Fama, it is a strictly a matter of personal preference, not anything that is objectively superior. How do you read his statement?
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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by azanon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:54 am

I always have a hard time accepting the notion that I'm getting paid for extra risk, as a holder of large-cap value stock vs., say an S&P 500 index. Am I wrong to think that I'm arguably better positioned to weather a potential bear market than a S&P 500 holder? If I'm not wrong, then remind me again, why are my stocks more risky?

It's always been a head-scratcher for me why the "go-go" growth stocks are actually less risky.

(edit) I see from the article, the risk is explained in terms of volatility. But still there are other ways of looking at risk, as I discussed above. I don't know if it's mathematically logical to feel as I do, but I feel less risky some 7 years into a strong US bull market holding Large-Cap value stocks.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:02 pm

Fama-French showed value to be a unique risk factor independent from the market factor. From my reading the correlation between value and market is about 0.1. It appears the unique risk is the risk of doing especially poorly in bad economic times.
It’s important to distinguish business risk from stock risk. Growth companies are typically more successful, have more stability of earnings, more stability in earnings growth. These are safer businesses, therefore the expected return should be less. Value companies are more leveraged and have more volatility of earnings. These riskier businesses should have a higher expected return commensurate with increased risk. Growth stocks are perhaps more subject to bubble risk and value stocks more subject to recession risk. An investor choosing one or the other could rationally prefer either low risk with associated lower expected return or higher risk with associated higher expected return. As Fama says, this is apples and oranges. But given that value is a UNIQUE, INDEPENDENT, UNCORRELATED risk compared to market risk, it seems to me that an investor engineering a portfolio will construct a superior portfolio by combining market factor and value factor together in the same single portfolio.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:42 pm

With regard to persistence and size, from Larry’s factor book data 1927-2015. The odds of market beta underperformance at 1 year 34%, at 10 years 10%, at 20 years 4%. For value factor underperformance at 1 year 37%, at 10 years 14%, at 20 years 6%. As far as size of the premia, market beta 8.3% with SD 20.6 and value 4.8% with SD 14.1

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by nisiprius » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:47 pm

azanon wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:54 am
I always have a hard time accepting the notion that I'm getting paid for extra risk, as a holder of large-cap value stock vs., say an S&P 500 index. Am I wrong to think that I'm arguably better positioned to weather a potential bear market than a S&P 500 holder? If I'm not wrong, then remind me again, why are my stocks more risky?

It's always been a head-scratcher for me why the "go-go" growth stocks are actually less risky.

(edit) I see from the article, the risk is explained in terms of volatility. But still there are other ways of looking at risk, as I discussed above. I don't know if it's mathematically logical to feel as I do, but I feel less risky some 7 years into a strong US bull market holding Large-Cap value stocks.
My feeling is that the "forest" is that there is just darned little difference between large-cap blend and large-cap value.

The 50/50 split between large-cap blend and large-cap value is seen both in the Bill Schultheis Coffeehouse Portfolio, and the four model portfolios shown by Larry Swedroe in his 1998 book, The Only Guide To Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need, so slice-and-dicers seem to think that it is important to have a value tilt at the large-cap end.

And yet:

Portfolio 1 (blue) is 100% Vanguard Large-Cap Index, VLACX;
Portfolio 3 (yellow) is 100% Vanguard [Large-Cap] Value Index, VIVAX;
Portfolio 2 (red) is a 50/50 split, in hope of squeezing some extra MPT juice from the mix.

With regard to your question about whether you are better positioned during a downturn, this is just another one of the things I keep hearing people say, about value stocks or dividend stocks or what have you. But what actually happened during 2008-2009? The drawdown for large-cap blend was -50.55%; for large-cap value, -54.86%. Now, you can look at this two ways. The way I look at it is: "about the same." But if you want to focus on small differences, no, large-cap value stocks did not weather 2008-2009 any better than large-cap blend.

Source
Image

1) The really salient point is how little difference there was between any of these portfolios.

2) The correlation between large-cap value and the U.S. market was 0.97, which is... um... basically 1.

3) Not that it matters, but the large-cap blend fund had (very) slightly higher return, (very) slightly lower standard deviation, and thus (very) slightly higher Sharpe ratio than the others.

4) Another interesting point is that every single number for the 50/50 mix is in between the numbers for large-cap blend and large-cap value, and very close to midway in-between. There's no evidence any MPT synergy, no whole-is-better-than-the-weighted-average-of-its-parts effect.
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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by PuddlesTheDuck » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:01 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:47 pm
1) The really salient point is how little difference there was between any of these portfolios.

2) The correlation between large-cap value and the U.S. market was 0.97, which is... um... basically 1.

3) Not that it matters, but the large-cap blend fund had (very) slightly higher return, (very) slightly lower standard deviation, and thus (very) slightly higher Sharpe ratio than the others.

4) Another interesting point is that every single number for the 50/50 mix is in between the numbers for large-cap blend and large-cap value, and very close to midway in-between. There's no evidence any MPT synergy, no whole-is-better-than-the-weighted-average-of-its-parts effect.
You're totally correct: large value and large blend are going to always produce similar results. But some points worth mentioning:

1) The value factor is less prevalent in large companies (or at least that's what I remember reading somewhere). Large value and large blend should then only differ slightly. Also, in the last 8 years it hasn't particularly mattered what you owned: it all has gone up. In the same way, it didn't really matter what you held in 2007-08: it all went down. People believed we were on the verge of complete collapse. Correlations go to 1 in a crisis, and intuitively, they should rebound with a similar correlation afterwards (also financial stocks are normally categorized in value, and we all know how the crisis went for them). Now the more recent correlations you could argue over. But we've been in an ultra-low interest rate economy that favors growthier companies, at least as far as I understand it. Behavioral factors come and go, so I have no problems believing that the value/growth feelings were balanced during the period.

2) How about if you make your results end in 2007? Large value looks to be inching away. How about if you end it in 2003? Correlations are basically 1. Factors don't always show themselves.

3) You're right, it doesn't matter. What matters is the results over the investing lifespan of an individual. Behavioral factors come and go. Value is partially behavioral.

4) Why are you looking for MPT synergy with correlated assets? LCB is 50% LCV (if you use Vanguard funds). It's going to be correlated. MPT calls for poorly or negatively correlated assets.You're building a portfolio out of oranges and grapefruits; they're both a citrus fruit. You should instead be using oranges and apples, or grapefruits and apples; apples provide a non-citrus diversifier in your fruit portfolio.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Johnnie » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:58 pm

From the article:
...Following is a summary of their findings:

There’s a strong countercyclical variation in the value premium’s market beta. Macroeconomic variables are informative in estimating the conditional (that is, conditioned upon the state of the economy) capital asset pricing model.

Consistent with risk-based explanations for the value premium, its market beta increases sharply during business recessions and decreases during business expansions—value stocks become riskier (safer) in bad (good) times, helping explain the value premium. Specifically, there was a sharp spike in the value premium’s conditional beta in each of seven business recessions over the period July 1963 to December 2012. In addition, the conditional beta tends to decrease during business expansions.

Value’s conditional market beta correlates positively with unemployment. As unemployment rises (falls), the beta of value stocks increases (decreases), increasing (decreasing) their risk.

Value’s conditional market beta correlates negatively with industrial production. As industrial production falls (rises), the beta of value stocks rises (falls), increasing (decreasing) their risk...
Oh dear, Larry lost me with all those opposites in parentheses. I'd be grateful in someone could translate. Is this just a way of saying "...and vice versa?" As in:

"As industrial production falls the beta of value stocks rises, increasing their risk - and vice versa when industrial production rises."
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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:32 pm

Exactly on the visa versa :-)

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Theoretical » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:41 am

It's always been a head-scratcher for me why the "go-go" growth stocks are actually less risky.
Those ones aren't, but we're dealing in an era of a lot of extreme-high valued growth stocks that speculative. Yes, I count Amazon in this.

Moderately growth stocks are extremely good and stable companies many times. The factor folks identify these as quality or high profitability companies and they tend to play in the blend/growth slices of the style box.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:29 pm

It's always been a head-scratcher for me why the "go-go" growth stocks are actually less risky.
I think the distinction is between the business and the stock. The business is solid and growing, with earnings growing. It’s a less risky business and investors should expect lower future returns. But investors get excited, overpay for growth, and the stock ends up having lofty growth expectations built into the price. When those overly optimistic expectations are not met, the stock plummets. The business is doing fine, perhaps it just missed some analyst earnings expectation, but the stock gets taken out and shot.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by QuietProsperity » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:41 pm

Nisiprius, you know better then to draw conclusions over a single 13-year period. For example, if we look at 2001-2013, we would conclude that value is far superior to the market and not investing in it is just flat out dumb:

Source

Image

Most people get caught up in this "What have you done for me lately?" mentality in investing (and life). Value has stunk for a decade. Does that mean it's dead? Who knows. The only thing that should matter as an investor is what you believe in.

The REAL problem we have in today's factor world is not whether factors will continue to work moving forward, because that is out of our control. What is in our control though is making sure you are actually investing in the factor you want.

For example, let's say you believe in the "Value" factor and so you decide to invest in VTV, Vanguard's Large Cap Value ETF. Thanks to Alpha Architect's Visual Active Share Tool we can see how this funds holdings compare to the factor it is saying it is attempting to replicate:

Image

As you can see, VTV, the so-called "Value" fund is nothing but a Large-Cap Blend fund.... It has just as much exposure to the most expensive P/B decile (Top Right) as it does to the cheapest (Top Left). This explains it's performance in Nisi's post above. Now Vanguard obviously has to balance the size of it's assets and this is one problem with getting factor exposure via large-asset shops. I would also guess that Vanguard, along with others, are okay with this approach because it limits tracking error and still allows them to keep these assets in house (Even at a low cost...0.06% on $35 Billion is better than 0.0% on $35 billion) but let's not kid ourselves, what most places call a "Value" fund are very different from the type of "Value" that all of this factor research was predicated upon.

The message I hope people start realizing is that just because a place like Vanguard or iShares throws a "Value" word on their fund title, does not mean that you are actually investing in the "Value" factor by any meaningful stretch. Knowing this will help you make better comparisons between funds, investing styles, etc. as well as allow you to understand back-tests such a Nisi's above that show Vanguard Value and Vanguard Blend as identical funds....because they essentially are.

P.S. As for my own opinion on how/why value works...capitalism...which creates mean-reversion. Things go down in price, investors get scared, some companies go bankrupt, competition goes away, the firms that stick around reap the benefits of less competition and lowered expectations, and prices eventually start to reflect that and revert. The opposite occurs for growth. Things go up in price, investors get excited, new companies enter the fray, competition increases, firms become less profitable and have higher expectations, and prices eventually start to reflect that and revert. Works for me.

In interest of Full Disclosure: I believe in the Value factor and invest in it with some of my investments.
Last edited by QuietProsperity on Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by grog » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:44 pm

azanon wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:54 am
I always have a hard time accepting the notion that I'm getting paid for extra risk, as a holder of large-cap value stock vs., say an S&P 500 index. Am I wrong to think that I'm arguably better positioned to weather a potential bear market than a S&P 500 holder? If I'm not wrong, then remind me again, why are my stocks more risky?

It's always been a head-scratcher for me why the "go-go" growth stocks are actually less risky.

(edit) I see from the article, the risk is explained in terms of volatility. But still there are other ways of looking at risk, as I discussed above. I don't know if it's mathematically logical to feel as I do, but I feel less risky some 7 years into a strong US bull market holding Large-Cap value stocks.
I have a similar intuition. If you look at Morningstar's breakdown for the classic "defensive sectors," consumer staples and utilities, you'll see they are heavily weighted towards "Value."

For the large cap segment of the style box, for example

Consumer Staples - 54 Value/24 Blend/6 Growth
Utilities - 47 Value/12 Blend/ 0 Growth

I would note though that "Value" from a factor analysis perspective is very narrowly defined based on price/book ratio whereas Morningstar's definition looks at earnings growth, dividends, and several other things. Morningstar's definition is much more in line with what I've always thought of as "Value" than the French-Fama definition. Morningstar calls Consumer Staples "Value" because those companies grow slowly and pay steady dividends, etc. but the price/book is actually about 4 which is well above market average and hence you will see it with a negative "Value" loading in the French-Fama framework. Those other value characteristics besides price/book are being spun off into separate supposed factors like "quality," "profitability," and so on.

Under the narrow price/book definition, you get a lot of distressed, highly leveraged companies. It makes complete sense that these would be risky. Under the broader definition though, the "Value" companies seem in general more mature and stable whereas the "Growth" companies are growing rapidly and reinvesting their earnings and their prices reflect the anticipation of higher future profits and hence are quite risky since there's a very long way to fall if those earnings don't pan out.

Morningstar Value/Growth definition here:

http://news.morningstar.com/pdfs/FactSh ... _Final.pdf

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Dead Man Walking » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:19 pm

To give Larry Swedroe credit, he has often stated that Vanguard's value funds are not very "valuey." I've noticed that their performance isn't much different than their blend funds over long time periods. Often the difference in performance can be explained by the beginning of the time period and the end of the time period selected - cherry picking a time period is a detriment to the process and is difficult to avoid.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Theoretical » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:14 am

With the Vanguard funds, it's a design flaw that causes this much blendiness because value-growth is a 50-50 split that's compounded by the extremely wide rebalance bands whereby 50% of a stock that was value but is now growth remains in the index awhile longer. So it means you've got about 75% of each total index in the value/growth fund at any one time.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by nedsaid » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:11 am

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:19 pm
To give Larry Swedroe credit, he has often stated that Vanguard's value funds are not very "valuey." I've noticed that their performance isn't much different than their blend funds over long time periods. Often the difference in performance can be explained by the beginning of the time period and the end of the time period selected - cherry picking a time period is a detriment to the process and is difficult to avoid.

DMW
Thank you Dead Man Walking and QuietProsperity for pointing this out. Vanguard isn't the greatest place to go for factor weighted investments. I do own the Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index ETF, it is cheap, and the performance has been good enough. I don't want to pay the advisor fee to access the Dimensional Fund Advisor funds.
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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by Random Walker » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:45 pm

Vanguard isn't the greatest place to go for factor weighted investments
I would like to expand on this a bit. Vanguard small funds aren’t as small as others and Vanguard’s value funds aren’t as high BtM as others, but they are certainly cheap. Why is this potentially problematic? First, if one’s goal is to achieve a given factor tilt in his portfolio, he will need more of the VG fund than he would a more expensive, smaller, more valuey fund. The factor funds are relatively more expensive than the core / TSM funds. So the investor will need more of the relatively expensive VG factor fund than he would of an even more expensive and more tilted factor fund. That means the ER difference is less than a superficial look reveals. It could well be cost per unit factor exposure that matters, not just absolute cost.
Secondly, if the goal of factor investing is to diversify across factors, then one would need to use more of the less tilted VG fund to gain the same SV exposure as he would use of the more focused fund. This means the VG investor is assuming more market beta risk for the same exposure to the other factors as is an investor using more focused funds. And the purpose of factor investing is to diversify away from market beta. As always, it’s a trade off between between costs and portfolio efficiency. I think that what is important is that the investor understand all the trade offs involved before making the VG v. More Expensive decision. If the decision is fully informed, then either path can be a good one.

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Re: Larry Swedroe: Finding The Source Of Value

Post by azanon » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:25 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:47 pm
My feeling is that the "forest" is that there is just darned little difference between large-cap blend and large-cap value.
Thanks for your post; that's very interesting. I admit, I did check on one thing though; I noticed you chose the 2007-2009 drop which reportedly hammered just about every asset class as opposed to, say, the 2000-2003 drop. So i used portfolio visualizer, and pitted that large cap value mutual fund vs. Vanguard's S&P 500 index (I had to switch cause the one you used wasn't around then). And much to my surprise, VFIAX vs. VIVAX was almost identical for the range of 2000-2002. The max drawdown for S&P 500 was -38.91% vs. the slightly higher -39.15% for VIVAX. Standard deviations for that range WERE identical (both were 19.88%).

Ok, well you opened my eyes. I'll stick with my LC value stock anyway though, since, as you've shown nothing much will change if I switch and the costs are the same. Psychologically, I like the idea of Value, so I'll stick with that, even if it really is just a mind game.

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