Geert Bekaert

How Do Regimes Affect Asset Allocation?

Coauthor(s): Andrew Ang.


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Everyone who has studied international equity returns has noticed the episodes of high volatility and unusually high correlations coinciding with a bear market. We develop quantitative models of asset returns that match these patterns in the data and use them in two quantitative asset allocation analyses. First, we show that the presence of regimes with different correlations and expected returns is difficult to exploit with within a global asset allocation framework focussed on equities. The benefits of international diversification dominate the costs of ignoring the regimes. Nevertheless, for all-equity portfolios, a regime-switching strategy out-performs static strategies out-of-sample. Second, we show that substantial value can be added when the investor chooses between cash, bonds and equity investments. When a persistent bear market hits, the investor switches primarily to cash. This desire for market timing is enhanced because the bear market regimes tend to coincide with periods of relatively high interest rates.

Source: Financial Analysts Journal
Exact Citation:
Bekaert, Geert, and Andrew Ang. "How Do Regimes Affect Asset Allocation?" Financial Analysts Journal 60, no. 2 (2004): 86-99.
Volume: 60
Number: 2
Pages: 86-99
Date: 2004