Successful Investing Is a Process: Structuring Efficient Portfolios for Outperformance


Praise for Successful Investing is a Process

"Should I want advice about the construction and the dynamic management of an investment portfolio, Jacques Lussier would be my first telephone call."
— NASSIM N. TALEB, essayist, risk scientist, and former derivatives trader; author of The Black Swan and Antifragile

"For the serious investor, Jacques Lussier provides a careful and clearly written analysis of what can and should be done to manage investments in a professional market where fees are large relative to value added. Successful Investing is a Process is always clear, always interesting and always educating."
— Charles D. Ellis, founder of Greenwich Associates, Chair of the CFA Institute, associate editor of The Journal of Portfolio Management and Financial Analysts Journal; author of 16 books including Winning the Loser's Game

"Successful Investing is a Process. It's not just a book title but an often-ignored reality. Jacques Lussier has done a superb job of synthesizing many of the developments in modern finance theory and practice into a well-crafted 'owner's manual' for building a successful investing process. This is an important book for any investor or fiduciary who wants to weather the likely challenges that the coming years seem likely to impose on us."
— Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates, former chairman of First Quadrant, editor of the Financial Analysts Journal; co-author of The Fundamental Index: A Better Way to Invest

"Jacques Lussier is quite right. Investing IS a process, and not a formula. There is something for every kind of investment professional in this useful book. I rediscovered much I had learned over thirty years in this profession, but had perhaps forgotten. I appreciated, too, much that I do remember; it's good to have it all in one place. But most of all I appreciate the large amount of material that I had missed. The scope of Jacques' book is encyclopedic. This is one of those rare books that will command a permanent place on the limited real estate available on an investor's trading desk."
— Vinay Pande, Partner at Brevan Howard, former Chief Investment Advisor at Deutsche Bank

"Lussier offers credible new views on benchmarking and outperformance, gleaned from his own experience and his broad and critical survey of current academic and practitioner research, in particular the insight that investors should let the market underperform their investment protocols instead of attempting to beat the market at all costs. Lussier's book is an impressive achievement written by an accomplished veteran of the asset management industry."
— Yves Choueifaty, founder of TOBAM, former CEO of Credit Lyonnais Asset Management

JACQUES LUSSIER, PhD, CFA, is the Chief Investment Strategist at Desjardins Asset Management, and has been with the company since 1995. He is the current VP of the Montreal chapter of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Society. He is a regular speaker at conferences, seminars, and webinars. Previously, Mr. Lussier taught finance at HEC Montréal. He holds a PhD in International Business with a minor in Bank Studies from the University of South Carolina, a master's degree in Finance and a bachelor's degree in Economics from HEC Montréal.

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

Introduction 1


CHAPTER 1: The Economics of Active Management 7

Understanding Active Management 8

Evidence on the Relative Performance of Active Managers 12

Relevance of Funds’ Performance Measures 15

Closing Remarks 17

CHAPTER 2: What Factors Drive Performance? 21

Implications of Long Performance Cycles and Management Styles 22

Ability to Identify Performing Managers 28

Replicating the Performance of Mutual Fund Managers 32

Closing Remarks 35

CHAPTER 3: Outperforming Which Index? 39

Purpose and Diversity of Financial Indices 40

Building an Index 41

Are Cap-Weight Indices Desirable? 43

Alternatives to Cap-Weight Indices and Implications 44

Closing Remarks 48


CHAPTER 4: The Four Basic Dimensions of An Efficient Allocation Process 53

First Dimension: Understanding Volatility 54

Second Dimension: Increasing the ARI Mean 68

Third Dimension: Efficiently Maximizing GEO Mean Tax 69

Fourth Dimension: Accounting for Objectives and Constraints 70

Closing Remarks 71

CHAPTER 5: A Basic Understanding of Asset Valuation and Pricing Dynamics 75

Determinants of Interest Rates 76

Determinants of Equity Prices 80

Historical Returns as a Predictor 86

Other Predictors 91

Review of Predictors 107

Closing Remarks 108


CHAPTER 6: Understanding Nonmarket-Cap Investment Protocols 115

Risk-Based Protocols 115

Fundamental Protocols 128

(Risk) Factor Protocols 135

Comparing and Analyzing Protocols 142

Bridging the Gaps and Improving on the Existing Literature 144

A Test of Several Investment Protocols 148

Closing Remarks 157

CHAPTER 7: Portfolio Rebalancing and Asset Allocation 161

Introduction to Portfolio Rebalancing 161

The Empirical Literature on Rebalancing 170

A Comprehensive Survey of Standard Rebalancing Methodologies 175

Asset Allocation and Risk Premium Diversification 179

Volatility and Tail Risk Management 190

Volatility Management versus Portfolio Insurance 197

Closing Remarks 199

CHAPTER 8: Incorporating Diversifiers 203

Fair Fees 204

Risk Premium and Diversification 205

Commodities as a Diversifier 208

Curencies as a Diversifier 228

Private Market Assets as a Diversifier 244

Closing Remarks 250

CHAPTER 9: Allocation Process and Efficient Tax Management 255

Taxation Issues for Individual Investors 256

Components of Investment Returns, Asset Location, Death and Taxes 257

Tax-Exempt, Tax-Deferred, Taxable Accounts and Asset Allocation 260

Capital Gains Management and Tax-Loss Harvesting 276

Is It Optimal to Postpone Net Capital Gains? 280

Case Study 1: The Impact of Tax-Efficient Investment Planning 289

Case Study 2: Efficient Investment Protocols and Tax Efficiency 291

Closing Remarks 293


CHAPTER 10: Understanding Liability-Driven Investing 297

Understanding Duration Risk 298

Equity Duration 303

Hedging Inflation 307

Building a Liability-Driven Portfolio Management Process 310

Why Does Tracking Error Increase in Stressed Markets? 312

Impact of Managing Volatility in Different Economic Regimes 314

Incorporating More Efficient Asset Components 320

Incorporating Illiquid Components 322

Role of Investment-Grade Fixed-Income Assets 323

Incorporating Liabilities 324

Incorporating an Objective Function 325

Case Study 326

Allocating in the Context of Liabilities 331

Closing Remarks 335

CHAPTER 11: Conclusion and Case Studies 337

Case Studies: Portfolio Components, Methodology and Performance 340

Conclusion 349

Bibliography 351

Index 361