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What are Factors?

"We dont have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest."
- Warren Buffett

"You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else."
- Albert Einstein

One might think of factors as features that one considers before making a purchase. Price, location, amenities, and safety are all common considerations when purchasing real estate. Similar to how consumers evaluate products, factor-based investors typically assess securities based on a number of characteristics (such as Quality, Value, Low Volatility, and Momentum), which are known as "Factors" in the investing world. Factor investing is the practice of making investment decisions, such as stock selection and asset allocation, solely on the basis of quantitative principles to gain exposure to certain factors.

Investing in factors: Active or Passive?

By copying the underlying stocks and their weights, passive investing aims to replicate a benchmark index (such as the Sensex 30 or the Nifty 50). Although it cannot outperform its underlying index, it does have the advantage of being intrinsically disciplined. Conventional active investing is, in contrast, mostly discretionary as fund managers select which stocks to buy. They offer the chance to outperform their benchmark index, but investment choices aren't governed by strict rules.

Factor investing combines the best qualities of both passive and active investment strategies by using rules to find stocks with desirable characteristics and build a portfolio that has the potential to outperform the benchmark index.

Defining 'Factors' in an Investment Setting

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History and evolution of Factor Investing

Although buzzwords such as “investment factors,” “factor funds,” “smart/strategic beta” have recently gained popularity, factor investing was pioneered back i

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Classifying a Parameter as an Investment Factor

Almost any parameter associated with the fundamental or market data of a company can be used as a factor. With potentially hundreds of factors available it is necessary to choose the most effect

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Factor Categories: Macroeconomic vs Style

Most investors classify investment factors into two broad categories, namely macroeconomic and style factors. As its name suggests, macroeconomic factors illustrate broad macroeconomic and finan

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Best Practices in defining and testing parameters

Parameters are the foundation of factor investing. They are the indicators used to measure the presence of desirable factors, either by themselves or in combination with other parameters. As suc

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Rule-Based Factor Investing vs. Traditional Discretionary Investing in Mutual Funds

In the diverse world of mutual funds, investment strategies often fall into two broad categories: rule-based factor investing and traditional discretionary investing. While both aim to maximi

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