Global equities have experienced a significant drawdown in 2022, with the MSCI ACWI Index down 19% this year.1 The sectors that have experienced the strongest correction are the pro-growth technology (-29.26%), consumer discretionary (-24.45%) and communication services (-30.81%). Investors who took a defensive approach, such as through a global low volatility approach, would have benefitted meaningfully. As Figure 1 illustrates, the STOXX Global Low Risk Weighted Diversified 200 Index has outperformed the MSCI ACWI by more than 8% year to date.2
Figure 1: Brinson Attribution (Portfolio vs. Market Benchmark)
Global low volatility has not only benefitted from being underweight the hard hit pro-growth sectors, but it has also benefitted from its overweight positioning in utilities and consumer staples, which trail only the energy sector in terms of relative performance this year. The methodology behind global low volatility has also benefitted from stock selection in the industrials and financials sectors, as well as strong stock selection regionally in US equities. This type of defensive performance is expected from global low volatility, historically speaking (see Figure 2). In nearly every major market pull-back since the Global Financial Crisis (“GFC”), global low volatility has outperformed the market benchmark STOXX Global 1800® Index.
Figure 2: Global Low Volatility Performance in Major Market Sell-offs
As explained in detail in our insights piece Global Low Volatility Index Comparison: Flexible and Fast Road to Portfolio Protection, a low volatility approach allows investors to seek calmer waters. The performance of low volatility strategies in 2022 clearly demonstrates how (low) volatility factor investing can be a helpful tool to those looking for better risk-adjusted returns, given the magnitude of excess performance in down months is greater than the underperformance in up months, historically.
1 Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P., as of 15 September 2022.
2 Source: FactSet, from 31 December 2021 to 15 September 2022. Not actual fund/index contribution, estimated using holdings information and closing prices (USD) in FactSet.
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For Investors in Austria: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Company has been notified to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in accordance with section 139 of the Austrian Investment Funds Act. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales Prospectus, the articles of incorporation, the KIID as well as the latest annual and semi-annual report free of charge from State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Branch in Germany, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. T: +49 (0)89-55878-400.F: +49 (0)89-55878-440.
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Low volatility funds can exhibit relative low volatility and excess returns compared to the Index over the long term; both portfolio investments and returns may differ from those of the Index. The fund may not experience lower volatility or provide returns in excess of the Index and may provide lower returns in periods of a rapidly rising market. Active stock selection may lead to added risk in exchange for the potential outperformance relative to the Index.
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