Quick Take: Rosemary Macedo uses a top-down, quantitative, multi-factor model to select stocks from around the world for the Bailard International Equity Fund (BBIEX). Under her discipline, she seeks to create a broadly diversified portfolio by initially ranking countries, sectors and individual securities according to various criteria and then evaluating their relative attractiveness.
Macedo currently works with just two associates, using computer models to sift through mountains of data. Despite the small staff, the $169-million fund has handily outperformed its global equity peers recently. For the one-year period through Nov. 30, 2005, the fund gained 19.5%, versus a 13.4% return by the peer group. Over three years, the fund rose an annualized 24.5%, compared with an 18.6% showing for the peers. Over five years, the fund again beat the peer group, 7.1% to 3.4%.
As of Sept. 30, 2005, the fund had the bulk of its assets invested in three developed markets: Europe (41.0%), Japan (21.6%) and the U.K. (16.8%). Asia, excluding Japan, accounted for a 9.2% weighting, with Latin America representing 3.5%. Overall, the fund holds more than 400 stocks spread out across thirty countries.
The fund’s expense ratio of 1.35% compares favorably with the peer average of 1.57%. The fund’s volatility, as measured by standard deviation, comes in at 12.17, nearly equivalent to the peers’ 12.05 average.
What Your Peers Are Reading
The fund’s turnover ratio of 69.0% closely matches the peers’ 72.4% average. However, Macedo emphasizes that any period of market volatility could boost the fund’s turnover.
The fund’s name was changed in 2005 from Bailard Biehl & Kaiser International Equity Fund in connection with the change in name of the investment adviser. Macedo has run the portfolio since November 1995.
The Full Interview:
S&P: Can you describe your investment philosophy?
MACEDO: We use a dynamic approach based on insights from behavioral finance, which focuses on why different investment strategies work and when they should work best. No single strategy or selection criteria works all the time. If you use a dogmatic approach, you can do very well while that particular style outperforms. But when it falls out of favor, you’re dead in the water until conditions change.
Behavioral finance suggests that value strategies profit from investor overreaction, which you tend to see when there’s a great deal of uncertainty and volatility in the markets. When our models see signals of market volatility, we increase our weighting in stocks with value characteristics in our overall selection process. During periods of underreaction, which typically feature low market volatility, we know that’s a good time to increase our weightings in securities with growth characteristics.
S&P: How big is your investment universe?
MACEDO: It’s comprises over 4,000 stocks around the globe and we can invest in up to 50 countries. We look at the most liquid, large-cap stocks in all major developed and most developing markets. We do hold small-cap stocks, but not micro-cap.
We stay very diversified. We’re not doing the type of bottom-up analysis that gives you such a thorough view of each company. We’re trying to profit from much larger patterns.
S&P: How do your computer models work?
MACEDO: We give a “score” to each country, and each stock within a country. Our model starts with about a dozen selection factors, including growth, value, estimate revisions, liquidity, and market risks.