Why Low Volatility Is Losing Its Alpha

May 29, 2013

 

Last week, we also saw the same thing happen to USMV. Unlike the large-cap-focused SPLV, USMV selects its low-volatility holdings from a U.S. total-market universe. As a result, we ran USMV against the MSCI USA Investable Markets Index.

 

USMV_Performance_Since_Inception

 

Like SPLV, USMV maintained a statistically significant 12-month alpha ranging between 4 and 9 percent. This indicated the fund’s passive low-volatility strategy significantly outperformed the broader U.S. market.

However, in the past month, it too faced a significant pullback when compared against our segment benchmark.

 

USMV_YTD_Performance

 

So what exactly is driving the force behind the reversals in “alpha” that we’re beginning to see in the low-vol space?

Looking at SPLV gives some greater insight.

 

 

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