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How Do Smart Beta Strategies Work in the Australian Market? Explore how six factor strategies have performed across market cycles in Australia.
BY Liyu Zeng


With increasing interest in smart beta strategies in the Australian equity market, we examined the effectiveness of six well-known risk factors, size, value, low volatility, momentum, quality, and dividends, in the Australian equity market from Dec. 31, 2004, to Dec. 29, 2017.

• Low volatility and high momentum delivered the most persistent absolute and risk-adjusted quintile return spreads, but small cap and value did not generate incremental return in the Australian market.

• Among the Australian factor indices offered by S&P DJI, the quality and momentum indices delivered the highest excess returns, while the low volatility and dividend indices had lower volatility than the S&P/ASX 200.

• The strong sector bias and dominance of large-cap stocks in the Australian market had a significant impact on the excess return and characteristics of the factor portfolios.

• Our macro regime analysis showed that most factor portfolios in Australia were sensitive to local market cycles and investor sentiment regimes.

• The distinct cyclicality of factor performance in Australia indicated its potential for implementation of active views on the local equity market.

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