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A novel dynamic asset allocation system using Feature Saliency Hidden Markov models for smart beta investing

Elizabeth Fons, Paula Dawson, Jeffrey Yau, Xiao-jun Zeng and John Keane

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: The financial crisis of 2008 generated interest in more transparent, rules-based strategies for portfolio construction, with Smart beta strategies emerging as a trend among institutional investors. While they perform well in the long run, these strategies often suffer from severe short-term drawdown (peak-to-trough decline) with fluctuating performance across cycles. To address cyclicality and underperformance, we build a dynamic asset allocation system using Hidden Markov Models (HMMs). We test our system across multiple combinations of smart beta strategies and the resulting portfolios show an improvement in risk-adjusted returns, especially on more return oriented portfolios (up to 50$\%$ in excess of market annually). In addition, we propose a novel smart beta allocation system based on the Feature Saliency HMM (FSHMM) algorithm that performs feature selection simultaneously with the training of the HMM, to improve regime identification. We evaluate our systematic trading system with real life assets using MSCI indices; further, the results (up to 60$\%$ in excess of market annually) show model performance improvement with respect to portfolios built using full feature HMMs.

Date: 2019-02
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