As the figure below highlights, expected returns on the S&P 500 have been gradually decreasing over time.
As of Q1 2015, the 10-year bond yield was projected at 2.12%.
The projected 10-year annualized return was 6.63% (2.12% 10-year + 4.51 equity premium).
The results are hypothetical results and are NOT an indicator of future results and do NOT represent returns that any investor actually attained. Indexes are unmanaged, do not reflect management or trading fees, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Additional information regarding the construction of these results is available upon request.
How in the world are the endowments and pensions going to hit their 8%+ bogies?
We analyze the history of the equity risk premium from surveys of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) conducted every quarter from June 2000 to March 2015. The risk premium is the expected 10-year S&P 500 return relative to a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield. We show that the equity risk premium has increased more than 50 basis points from the levels observed in 2014. The current 10-year risk premium is 4.51%. Similarly, measures of risk such as investor disagreement and perceptions of volatility have increased. Interestingly, the increased premium and risk are not reflected in market-based measures of risk, such as the VIX and credit spreads. We also link our survey results to measures survey-based measures of the weighted average cost of capital and investment hurdle rates. The hurdle rates are significantly higher than the cost of capital implied by the market risk premium.
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago where he studied under Nobel Prize Winner Eugene Fama. Next, Wes took an academic job in his wife’s hometown of Philadelphia and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management firm dedicated to an impact mission of empowering investors through education. He is a contributor to multiple industry publications and regularly speaks to professional investor groups across the country. Wes has published multiple academic papers and four books, including Embedded (Naval Institute Press, 2009), Quantitative Value (Wiley, 2012), DIY Financial Advisor (Wiley, 2015), and Quantitative Momentum (Wiley, 2016).
Dr. Gray currently resides in Palmas Del Mar Puerto Rico with his wife and three children. He recently finished the Leadville 100 ultramarathon race and promises to make better life decisions in the future.
Performance figures contained herein are hypothetical, unaudited and prepared by Alpha Architect, LLC; hypothetical results are intended for illustrative purposes only. Past performance is not indicative of future results, which may vary. There is a risk of substantial loss associated with trading stocks, commodities, futures, options and other financial instruments. Full disclosures here.