The Market Neutral Canadian Equity strategy seeks to provide consistent, absolute returns that are independent of the performance of the S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index. This strategy invests in Canadian equity securities that are expected to outperform, while selling short an equivalent dollar of those securities that are expected to underperform.
To achieve the strategy’s objectives, the investment team uses a fundamental quantitative investment process to build a portfolio that emphasizes traditional investment principles such as value and growth, while leveraging the advantages inherent to quantitative processes.
- Quantitative, actively managed market neutral (100% long, 100% short) Canadian equity strategy.
- Proprietary quantitative model scores companies based on a balanced combination of multidisciplinary investment styles such as profitability, valuation, and growth potential.
- Portfolio built using optimization process to determine balanced combination of these factors.
- Diverse and experienced team dedicated to proprietary research, including model enhancements, with an emphasis on continuous development.
Investment philosophy and style
- The core philosophy that underlies our quantitative equity strategies is a belief that quantitative-driven processes can respond swiftly and systematically to market inefficiencies.
- The inefficiencies we seek to exploit generally fall into two groupings: informational and behavioural opportunities.
- Underlying our approach is the belief that portfolios with a better mix of the characteristics that drive stock returns over time – such as better valuations, profitability, and growth – will deliver superior returns relative to the market.
- We employ a core investment approach, free of a style bias, with a goal of providing more consistent absolute returns. Our focus is on security selection, with a small portion of the risk budget allocated to sector selection.
The Quantitative Investments Team’s process assesses securities using seven security alpha factors derived from traditional fundamental investment principles:
- Profitability: We consider the overall profitability of a company, such as cash flow return on equity, or EBIT margins.
- Quality: Quality means different things to different investors; we use this measure to assess a number of items, including the quality of earnings and sources of financing.
- Value: We consider a number of measures of value, with an emphasis on cash flow based measures.
- Growth: We consider measures of the sustainable growth rate of a company, including return on assets, trailing and forward return on equity, and earnings growth.
- Technical: This factor provides a signal of changes in the company’s fundamental momentum, derived from stock price movements. These measures typically signal changes before they show up in analysts’ estimates or target prices.
- Analyst: We consider measures of the views of the top sell-side research analysts, focusing on those analysts with the best forecasting record for each company.
- Sentiment: Sentiment is a powerful measure of whether a stock is ahead of itself or oversold in the near term.
- While security selection is the primary driver of returns, we also tilt the portfolio towards sectors that score well on the factors we measure.
- The other factors we consider – risk factors – are designed to assess individual company risk. Risk factors measure those characteristics of a stock that can impact returns, but where the direction and magnitude is unpredictable.
- Portfolio construction is done through an optimization process, followed by a trade review before trade execution.
- The optimization’s inputs are the team’s alpha and risk forecasts, quantified by the team’s proprietary factor model, in addition to constraints and transaction costs.
- The team scores companies based on their style characteristics (value, growth, profitability, etc.), and then combines them into a portfolio with a balanced combination of these factors. While we are focused primarily on security selection, we will also tilt the portfolio towards sectors that score well.
- The team is cognizant that other unintended exposures within the portfolio could potentially overwhelm the positive contributions from the factors that are emphasized. Therefore, we will also quantify and neutralize the impact of risk factors – such as currency, beta, or market cap size – as much as possible within the portfolio construction process.