Equities

Equity Portfolio Construction – Through a Risk Factor Lens

Posted by David Scarozza on Jun 28, 2018

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary | Risk Management

At Commonfund, we aim to build multi-manager, active risk equity portfolios with a clear objective of consistent outperformance versus passive policy benchmarks. Our approach is to take intentional and measured “risk away from the benchmark” by allocating to a variety of managers who employ active risk strategies...

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Evolving Asset Allocation and Policy Portfolios

Posted by Commonfund on Mar 27, 2018

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

In this Forum 2018 general session, Commonfund experts share research findings and techniques we employ to help investors understand not just the characteristics of their portfolio in isolation but also the broader considerations and pressures that should shape risk, drawdown and recovery expectations over the long haul.

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Building Resiliency

Posted by Commonfund on Mar 23, 2018

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary

In this keynote presentation from Commonfund Forum 2018, CEO Catherine Keating shares insights into the investment philosophy and practices that may enable institutions to build resiliency into their portfolios.

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Baring Their Teeth –
FAANGs Take a Bite Out of Equities

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Mark Bennett on Mar 2, 2018

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

Narrow markets are not uncommon to equity investors. They tend to manifest themselves during the best of times, as bull markets lengthen and thematic elements of investing gain popularity. Prior narrow market environments existed in the late 1990s (the historic tech bubble that many remember) and also in 2007, prior to the global financial crisis. The most recent narrow market has been dominated by the headlines of FAANGs — Facebook, Amazon.com, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet, formerly known as Google. These five business models are disrupting all sorts of industries, and with it, their stock prices have soared.

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Returning to the “Old Normal”

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Michael Strauss on Feb 15, 2018

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge | Market Commentary

Investors took solace in the lack of stock market volatility in 2017. In reality, that may have been more of an anomaly than the current turbulence equity investors are experiencing. Volatility spikes in the capital markets are not unusual.

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Volatility Returns to
the Equity Markets

Posted by Kristofer Kwait, Steve Snyder on Feb 7, 2018

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy

During the course of the recent selloff in the equity markets and spike in volatility, many of our investors have questioned whether this significant drop experienced over a few trading days portends the beginning of a bear market, or a shorter term correction (albeit a violent one).

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Year-End Update and 2018 Outlook | Rational Resiliency

Posted by Catherine Keating on Dec 14, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Fixed Income | Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

As we come to the end of 2017 and look forward to 2018, we are approaching the tenth year of the post-crisis recovery. With synchronized global growth for the first time in a decade, equity markets near all-time highs, and a year of strong double-digit portfolio returns, investors should be feeling exuberant. And yet we find the exuberance of most institutions with whom we work tempered by concerns about the future.

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Emerging Market Equities Turn the Corner

Posted by Mark Bennett on Nov 1, 2017

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy

As we progress through calendar year 2017, we have witnessed the continuation of the equity bull market started in 2009. One difference however, is that leadership has turned (finally!) to non-U.S equity markets.

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A Different Engine for European Equities

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Michael Strauss on Sep 18, 2017

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

The Euro area economy seems to be on solid footing and the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken notice. European companies are finally showing meaningful improvements in corporate earnings, although the strengthening Euro could put pressure on some entities. One new twist - European officials are beginning to recognize that the stronger Euro may present a challenge to the economic and earnings ...

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How Much Beta is in Your Equity Portfolio?

Posted by David Scarozza on Jul 18, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Investment Strategy | Risk Management

It’s undeniable that every active equity manager’s chief competitor these days is the passive alternative against which its investors measure their performance. This is as true for a singularly focused equity mandate manager as it is for an organization like Commonfund, who assembles multi-manager active risk equity portfolios that seek to exploit the potential advantage of scouring the globe in pursuit of strategies that offer both the possibility for excess returns and excess return source diversification.

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Meeting the
Challenge of CPI +5%

Posted by Commonfund on Mar 21, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Private Capital

Despite the fact that the economy is expanding and the S&P 500 has been up for eight straight years, many nonprofit investors haven't been feeling the benefits as the main tenets of the endowment model of investing have been hampered by the market environment. In this Commonfund Forum 2017 session, Commonfund President & CEO, Catherine Keating, provides insight into the challenges of meeting CPI + 5% for fiduciaries. To obtain a copy of the slides shown in this presentation, please contact your Commonfund relationship officer.

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Taking Chips off the Table

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Michael Strauss on Feb 22, 2017

Topic: Equities | Fixed Income | Market Commentary

The question we are often asked is…when should investors begin to take chips off the table? The S&P 500 Index has delivered a 16+ percentage point relative gain compared to the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index since the start of this fiscal year. Near term, we may see a return to a choppy market where stocks still best bonds but with a smaller differential.

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Active vs. passive: There is no debate

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Jan 31, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Fixed Income | Investment Strategy | Risk Management

Like King Kong vs. Godzilla, the investment debate of active vs. passive continues. I really enjoyed those cheesy old movies from Japan that pitted the two big monsters of science fiction. But as I recall, there was never a clear winner: Sometimes King Kong won the battle, sometimes Godzilla.

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A False Sense of Diversification?

Posted by David Scarozza on Nov 29, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Investment Strategy

As we have undergone the process of re-underwriting all of Commonfund’s equity managers and funds over the last 6 months, we have tackled anew the age old question of how many funds does one multi-manager equity portfolio require to offer appropriate levels of diversification? While there is no single universally appropriate answer, our research has indicated that, upon closer inspection, many multi-manager equity portfolios may not be quite as diversified as intended from a potential excess return perspective.

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It’s Not Easy Being Active

Posted by Mark Bennett on Aug 30, 2016

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy

It's not easy being an active equity manager these days. We’ve had the great financial crisis of 2007-2008, a technology/internet bubble in 1998-1999 culminating with a sharp and prolonged bear market from 2000-2002, and most recently the European crisis in 2011. What made 2016 worse than those prior periods? There is not one easy answer to that question, but a series of shifts in the investment landscape that deserve mentioning.

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Commonfund Roundup
07-29-16

Posted by Commonfund on Jul 29, 2016

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary | Responsible Investing

Commonfund's July Roundup features the Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing: Foundations Survey and Press Release; a webcast on the FY2016 Equity Performance Review, hosted by Mark Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Kris Kwait, Head of Investments, and Keith Luke, President, Commonfund Securities, Inc.; along with the latest weekly economic podcasts by Chief Economist, Michael Strauss.

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Equity Performance Review: Fiscal Year 2016

Posted by Keith Luke, Mark J.P. Anson, Kristofer Kwait on Jul 21, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Investment Strategy

Our latest webcast reviews equity performance for fiscal year 2016 and the positioning for the portfolio going forward.

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Is Value Investing Dead?

Posted by AJO Partners on May 20, 2016

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary

AJO Partners' Jocelin Reed explores the current debate about value investing in a thoughtful manner, uncovering sector biases that exist with style investing. Is Value Investing Dead? We think not, but it might seem so. In fact, we observe a bizarrely large influence of sectors (versus stocks) in the latest value/growth regime.

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Xchange Webcast: Risk, Return and Volatility

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Mar 22, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Fixed Income | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary | Risk Management

Xchange Webcast: Risk, Return and Volatility with Chief Investment Officer Mark Anson

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On Narrow Markets and Smart Beta

Posted by Mark Bennett on Feb 28, 2016

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary

We’ve all heard a manager complain about narrow markets. We are guilty of it ourselves. What is a narrow market and how do we view it in the context of recent equity performance?

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Global Economic & Investment Outlook:
2016 – A Year of Transition

Posted by Commonfund on Jan 4, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Fixed Income | Hedge Funds | Market Commentary | Private Capital

Our 2016 Global Economic and Investment Outlook provides a detailed look at our expectations and portfolio positioning going forward.

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The Curious Case of Risk Exposures in Diversified, Multi-Asset Class Portfolios – A Deep Dive

Posted by Commonfund on Dec 30, 2015

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities

Previous research at Commonfund has demonstrated that a traditional 70/30 stock/bond portfolio has north of 99 percent of its risk allocated to equities. Thus portfolio risk in the traditional portfolio is not broadly diversified across equities and fixed income, but rather, highly concentrated in one exposure: equities. Does a more diversified, multi-asset class portfolio do a better job of balancing risk?

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Japanese Equities:
Trading Rally or Lasting Change?

Posted by Mark Bennett on Nov 9, 2015

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

Financial Crises in early 2009, but more recently, another major economy has taken over the leadership of equity returns. Since the election of Prime Minister Abe to a second term in December, 2012, Japanese equities, in local currency terms, have far outpaced US, European and Emerging Markets, as

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Much Ado About Nothing

Posted by Michael Strauss on Nov 4, 2015

Topic: Equities | Fixed Income | Market Commentary

Market pundits are obsessing over the timing of the Fed move on interest rates with increasing divergence on “when” but not “if”. The reality is that this timing doesn’t really matter – whether it be December, March or somewhere in between.

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After the Waterfall: Contagion or Rebound?

Posted by Michael Strauss on Oct 7, 2015

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

A waterfall selloff in the equity market this summer has reignited fears that a recession is on the horizon.

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An August Correction

Posted by Nick De Monico on Aug 24, 2015

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

Today’s global equity market sell-off, combined with last week’s declines, has undoubtedly raised concerns among our investors who may question whether this marks the start of a prolonged downturn.

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Is the China Growth Story Still Real?

Posted by Michael Strauss on Aug 6, 2015

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

While returns are still up on a year-to-date basis, Chinese equity markets have plunged almost 30 percent this summer.

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Manager Spotlight | Glenview Capital Management

Posted by Commonfund on Nov 11, 2014

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge

Manager Spotlight | Glenview Capital Management

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Private equity: perception and reality

Posted by Peter Burns, Mark Hoeing, Kent Scott on Apr 12, 2014

Topic: Equities | Private Capital

For a variety of reasons, some investors believe that private equity may have lost its edge as a key allocation for their portfolios. This perception may overlook reality. A closer examination reveals that the fundamentals are intact and there are attractive opportunities for skilled private equity managers. As always, investors should be discerning in their choice of managers, and continue to place access ahead of allocation. Here, a look at some widely held perceptions and the reality that may be overlooked or misunderstood.

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Subscribe and Manage Your Frequency to Insights Blog

Posted by Commonfund on Jan 5, 2014

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities | Fixed Income | Governance and Policy | Hedge Funds | Industry Knowledge | Market Commentary | Operating Assets | Outsourced Investing | People | Private Capital | Responsible Investing | Risk Management

Subscribe to the Insights Blog from Commonfund to stay informed with the latest information for nonprofit investors and the public sector.

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Goldilocks Economy or a QE-Driven Mirage?

Posted by Michael Strauss on Nov 15, 2013

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

Whether at investment committee meetings, cocktail parties or on the sidelines at fall soccer or football games, no one in the investment community can escape questions about what happens after the Fed stops its latest round of quantitative easing.

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Déjà vu All Over Again (or Not?)

Posted by Michael Strauss on May 11, 2012

Topic: Equities | Market Commentary

Does European political and macroeconomic concerns impact the U.S.

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