By |Published On: July 15th, 2015|Categories: Research Insights|

The past few weeks we’ve highlighted a set of research papers that go back and forth on the validity of the Fama and French “5-factor model.”

A sampling of the research:

We summarize the debate/controversy in a couple of recent posts:

Now we have a new paper from Back, Kapadia, and Ostdiek that investigates the merits of both the FF 5-Factor and the KXZ 4-Factor.

Alphas of Betas: Testing Characteristics-Based Factor Models

We test the recent Fama-French five-factor model and Hou-Xue-Zhang four-factor model using test assets from Fama-MacBeth regressions, which are bets on particular characteristics or covariances that are neutral with respect to others. Monte Carlo evidence shows that the tests are unbiased, despite errors in variables. Test assets that are bets on characteristics (covariances) have positive (negative) alphas. In particular, neither model can explain returns related to investment rates, the Fama-French model cannot explain momentum, and the Hou-Xue-Zhang model cannot explain value. The rejections are economically significant.

Sure sounds like nobody can explain active  value investing and momentum investing excess returns…

About the Author: Wesley Gray, PhD

Wesley Gray, PhD
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.