Time Series Variation in the Factor Zoo
Factor investing and detailed allocation according to different sets of factors are lively researched topics with many unanswered and open questions. Many views are often conflicting and from both radical sides — on one, that only a few factors should be necessary to explain the cross-section of mean returns, which is attractive, especially because of its simplicity; on the other, that you can use complex (authors examine the 161 “clear predictors” and 44 “likely predictors”) combinations of factors from less known and unorthodox models, but falling into dangerous and often unexamined “factor zoo” with many undesirable, unexamined and non-controllable outcomes. A huge gap is often seen in finance between the theory of academia and practical applications (by PMs [portfolio managers]), and so is especially present in this one. Let’s take a look at what the complexity of factors does for various equities pricing models.