Smart Beta Exchange-Traded Funds and Factor Investing
It was early 2015 and executives in iShares' Factor Strategies Group were considering the launch of a new class of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) called smart beta funds. Specifically, the group was considering smart beta multifactor ETFs that would provide investors with simultaneous exposure to four fundamental factors that had shown themselves historically to be significant in driving stock returns: the stock market value of a firm, the relative value of a firm's financial position, the quality of a firm's financial position, and the momentum of a firm's stock price. The executives at iShares were unsure whether there would be demand in the marketplace for such multifactor ETFs, since their value added from an investor's portfolio perspective was unknown. Students will act as researchers for iShares' Factor Strategies Group and conduct detailed analysis of Fama and French's five-factor model and the momentum effect, smart beta ETFs including multifactor ETFs, and factor investing with smart beta ETFs to help iShares make its decision.