Introducing our latest Factor Innovation – MSCI FaCSTM

Based on MSCI’s Global Equity Factor Model, MSCI FaCS includes 8 Factor Groups, and 16 Factors.


Factor Investing is transforming the way investors construct and manage portfolios. The increasing popularity of Factor Investing can create the need for standards.

MSCI has been at the forefront of driving factor innovation for over 40 years, beginning with Barra, which established a common language to explain risk and return through the lens of factors.

MSCI FaCS and MSCI Factor Box are designed to provide the structure and standardization for evaluating, implementing and reporting factor exposures.

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MSCI FaCS TM

It is well established that Factors have historically been key drivers of risk and return in equity portfolios. Our research (Roisenberg, 2017) suggests that industry, country, currency and style Factors account for approximately 55% of the active return of a sample of approximately 882 actively managed global mutual funds over the September 2003 – December 2016 period. Within the Factor contribution, style Factors made up the largest portion of active returns - 35%.

MSCI FaCS creates a common language and definitions around Factors to be used by a broader audience including asset owners, managers, advisors, consultants, and investors. Investment managers can use the framework to analyze and report Factor characteristics, while investors and consultants can use the data to compare funds using common Factor standard definitions.


 

MSCI Factor Box

The Factor Box is powered by MSCI FaCS, which creates a common language for Factor Investing. The Factor Box provides a visualization designed to easily compare Factor exposures between funds and benchmarks. It includes the 6 Factors which have historically demonstrated excess market returns over the long run.

The MSCI Factor Box aims to help investors identify Factor exposures compared to their intended benchmark. This may help investors to make better informed decisions on their fund selection, fund monitoring and holistic portfolio analysis based on their fund exposures and investment objectives.

Factor Groups What it is
Value

Relatively Inexpensive Stocks

Captures excess returns to stocks that have low prices relative to their fundamental value

Low Size (Small Cap)
Smaller Companies

Captures excess returns of smaller firms (by market capitalization) relative to their larger counterparts

Momentum
Rising Stocks

Reflects excess returns to stocks with stronger past performance

Low Volatility
Lower Risk Stocks

Captures excess returns to stocks with lower than average volatility, beta, and/or idiosyncratic risk

Dividend Yield
Cash Flow Paid Out

Captures excess returns to stocks that have higher-than-average dividend yields

Quality
Sound Balance Sheet Stocks

Captures excess returns to stocks that are characterized by low debt, stable earnings growth, and other “quality” metrics


Further reading

Creating a common language for factor investing - read the blog
Introducing MSCI FaCS - read the research papers