The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between predictability in return and investment strategy performance. Two measures that characterize investment strategies within a mean‐variance framework, an activity measure and a style measure, are developed and the performance of alternative strategies (e.g. contrarian, momentum, etc.) is examined when risky asset returns are mean reverting.
Returns are assumed to follow a multivariate Ornstein‐Uhlenbeck process, where reversion to a time‐varying mean is governed by an additional variable set, similar to that proposed by Lo and Wang (1995). Depending on its parameterization, this process is capable of producing an autocorrelation pattern consistent with empirical evidence, that is, positive autocorrelation in short‐horizon returns and negative autocorrelation in long‐horizon returns.
The results, for four uninformed investment strategies and assuming that returns are generated by a simple univariate Ornstein‐Uhlenbeck process, show that the unadjusted returns from the contrarian (momentum) strategy are greater than those from the other strategies when the mean reversion parameter, α, is greater than (less than) one. The results are expected, given the relationship between α and the first‐order autocorrelation in returns. The risk level (measured by either the standard deviation of returns or beta) of the contrarian strategy is the lowest at essentially all levels of mean reversion and the risk‐adjusted returns from the contrarian strategy, measured by the both the Sharpe and Treynor ratios, dominate those from the other strategies.
In future research, a number of issues not considered in this study may be investigated. The style measure developed here can be used to determine whether the results obtained hold when an informed, mean‐variance efficient active strategy is employed. In addition, the performance of both the informed and uninformed strategies may be examined under the assumption that the risky return process follows a multivariate Ornstein‐Uhlenbeck process. This work should provide findings that facilitate the separation of fund risk due to dynamic strategies from that due to time‐varying expected returns.
The methodology used here may be easily extended to consider a number of important issues, such as the frequency of portfolio rebalancing, transactions costs, and multiple asset portfolios, that are encountered in practice.
The approach used here provides insight into how predictability affects the relative performance of tactical investment strategies and, thus, may serve as a basis for determining the magnitude and persistence in autocorrelation required for active investment strategies to yield profits significantly different from those of passive strategies. In this sense, this study may have appeal for both academics and investment professionals.
Wilkens, K., Heck, J. and Cochran, S. (2006), "The effects of mean reversion on alternative investment strategies", Managerial Finance, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 14-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074350610641848Download as .RIS
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