Optimizing risk-adjusted conviction
George Maris, Head of Equities - Americas and Portfolio Manager, explains why integrating risk-adjusted conviction as measured by Implied Alpha into portfolio construction serves as a complement to bottom-up stock selection.
2 minute read
- A key objective for equity portfolio managers is to minimize the systemic risk inherent in financial markets with the aim of amplifying their skill in security selection.
- Implied Alpha, which is a measure of risk-adjusted conviction in a stock, is a powerful complement to bottom-up portfolio construction.
- Portfolio managers benefit from gauging whether their risk-adjusted conviction in a stock aligns with its position size in a portfolio.
With the goal of generating consistent excess returns, actively managing an equity portfolio requires establishing sound methodologies and repeatable processes. We think a process based on fundamental security-level analysis can lead to superior risk-adjusted returns. Academic literature indicates bottom-up stock-selection strategies tend to generate excess returns over the entirety of the business cycle more effectively than top-down or even sector-rotation strategies. But identifying securities capable of generating returns greater than those of the broader equity universe is insufficient. Robust portfolio construction matters.
Among the numerous approaches to constructing an equity portfolio, one gaining popularity in recent years is prioritizing active share, or the degree to which a portfolio’s weightings diverge from the benchmark. How much a particular stock is overweighted or underweighted is determined by the manager’s level of conviction, which is, in turn, the result of in-depth security-oriented research. While a step in the right direction, a complement to active share is integrating the concept of Implied Alpha in portfolio construction.
Implied Alpha is best viewed as a measure of a manager’s risk-adjusted conviction in a security. It is risk-adjusted as it incorporates not only the return potential of an individual security but also how inclusion of that security impacts the volatility of returns of the aggregate portfolio. The additional level of volatility assumed when increasing active risk – or tracking error – can be considered a cost. For this cost to be justified, managers should optimize their underlying skill in security selection. The result should be the positions with the highest level of risk-adjusted conviction being among the largest contributors to the portfolio’s active risk.
These are the views of the author at the time of publication and may differ from the views of other individuals/teams at Janus Henderson Investors. Any securities, funds, sectors and indices mentioned within this article do not constitute or form part of any offer or solicitation to buy or sell them.
Past performance does not predict future returns. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested.
The information in this article does not qualify as an investment recommendation.