The Moat of Finance : Does Complexity Reward the Private Investor?
Sammanfattning: This paper evaluates the ability of single and multi-ratio investment strategies, such as P/E, P/B, Magic Formula and Piotroski F-score, to generate excess returns and positive alpha values on the Stockholm Stock Market. Performances of the strategies tested are compared to the Stockholm Stock Market as a whole, also known as the index “OMXSPI”. In this paper, three single-ratio strategies are investigated along with three multi-ratio strategies, chosen on the basis of popularity among private investors, according to our observations. We also compare these strategies’ returns to the returns of the ten best performing funds, over the last ten years, found on SEB’s and Handelsbanken’s fund lists. We find that both multi and single-ratio strategies generated alpha values and that single-ratio strategies performed well, relative to multi-ratio strategies, considering their simplicity. The current portfolio composition from screening stocks based on low P/E, P/B and high dividend yield alone are also associated with less risk, expressed in volatility, than portfolios that would be composed based on the multi-ratio methods. We even find that one of the more complex strategies, Graham Screener, underperformed single-ratio strategies, when comparing yearly alpha values over 15 and 17 years, respectively. The funds’ alpha values are also very poor compared to both single and multi-ratio strategies considering the managers’ likely investment experience and complex investment systems. In sum, our empirical data suggests that excess returns were indeed attainable during the investigated time-periods by following a rule-based investing philosophy in conjunction with single or multi-ratio strategies, and unless the investor has sublime experience and knowledge, he or she is probably better off using this type of investing rather than making investment decisions in a discretionary manner.We also conclude that the Stockholm Stock Market probably suffered from lower market efficiency, from the perspective of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and lower screening abilities and tools, such as Börsdata, among investors in the beginning of the testing periods, which could be one reason as to why these ratio strategies worked as well as they did. However, the results are still interesting because complexity does not seem to imply value (extra alpha generation) of significant magnitude, if at all. What does seem to imply value, are the minimization of human interactions with investment models and emotional stability.
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