Daily Academic Alpha: Momentum Investing and Asset Allocation

Daily Academic Alpha: Momentum Investing and Asset Allocation

October 12, 2015 Momentum Investing Research, Tactical Asset Allocation Research
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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2017)

The results in this paper won’t surprise most who are regular readers, but the paper below does a nice job explaining things in a simple way. For more advanced asset allocation methods that use momentum one can check out past blogs on the subject here, here , and here.

Momentum Investing & Asset Allocation

This paper highlights the use of a new strategic approach within a quantitative investment methodology in the context of making prudent asset allocation decisions. Three asset classes will frame the dynamic asset allocation discussion: Equities, Fixed Income, and Hedge Funds. The quantitative methodology used is an evolution of J. Welles Wilder’s Relative Strength Index (RSI) first published in New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems . The sample portfolio that was analyzed over several market cycles has demonstrated greater compound returns with less volatility. The result is a set of strategies that yield better risk-adjusted returns to the broad equity markets, broad bond markets, and broad returns of hedge funds. In fact, the portfolios we analyzed delivered significantly higher risk adjusted returns across multiple market cycles.

A visual summary of the paper’s core results:

The results are hypothetical results and are NOT an indicator of future results and do NOT represent returns that any investor actually attained. Indexes are unmanaged, do not reflect management or trading fees, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Additional information regarding the construction of these results is available upon request.
The results are hypothetical results and are NOT an indicator of future results and do NOT represent returns that any investor actually attained. Indexes are unmanaged, do not reflect management or trading fees, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Additional information regarding the construction of these results is available upon request.

Note: This site provides NO information on our value investing ETFs or our momentum investing ETFs. Please refer to this site.


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Please remember that past performance is not an indicator of future results. Please read our full disclosures. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Alpha Architect, its affiliates or its employees. This material has been provided to you solely for information and educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer or any advice or recommendation to purchase any securities or other financial instruments and may not be construed as such. The factual information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author and Alpha Architect to be reliable but it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to its accuracy and is not to be regarded as a representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor should the attached information serve as the basis of any investment decision. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission from Alpha Architect.


Definitions of common statistics used in our analysis are available here (towards the bottom)




About the Author

Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D.

After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned a PhD, and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management that delivers affordable active exposures for tax-sensitive investors. Dr. Gray has published four books and a number of academic articles. Wes is a regular contributor to multiple industry outlets, to include the following: Wall Street Journal, Forbes, ETF.com, and the CFA Institute. Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Mike Ruth

    Great article,Wesley.
    How do you calculate the return per unit of risk?Is it the ratio between the last 12 month return and the annualized standard deviation of the last 12 monthly returns?
    Thank you

  • Hi Mike,

    The details are embedded in the source paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2670343

    There are many ways to quantify “return per unit of risk” because “risk” is a multi-faceted concept. But yes, that is essentially how it is measured in this particular paper