Factor Investing

Our research has identified factors that have historically earned a persistent premium over time. These factors can be can be represented by factor indexes representing value, quality, momentum, dividend yield, momentum and low size. With insights on more than 40 years of factor data, our work informs effective risk modelling and investment management practices.


Featured research papers and Blog posts

Understanding Factor Exposures When Markets Become Volatile

Blog Post - How did different equity factors fare during the past week’s market turmoil? When markets are gyrating, it can be difficult to figure out just what is happening. Real-time data provides greater insight into market events as they unfold.

Dissecting the stock market sell-off

Blog Post - Growing fears about rising inflation and interest rates sparked a decline across equity markets in the last few days. The MSCI USA Index fell 2% on Friday and a further 4% on Monday. Has the sell-off been indiscriminate? Or has it affected certain sectors and factors more than others?

Introducing MSCI FaCS

Research Paper - Factors are important systematic sources of risk and return in equity portfolios. Given the pervasive use of factors via both active and passive strategies, a standard approach is needed for defining factors and evaluating the factor characteristics of portfolios. We introduce MSCI FaCS, a classification standard and framework for analyzing and reporting of style factors in equity portfolios that is based on the Barra Global Total Market Equity Model for Long-Term Investors. Managers can use the framework to analyze and report factor characteristics, while investors and consultants can use its data to compare funds using common definitions.

Is There a Short Interest Factor?

Research Paper - Our results suggest that short interest data may provide investors with additional transparency into sources of risk and return, as well as a potentially new factor to incorporate in the portfolio construction process.

Using factors in international investing

Blog Post - Over the last decade, asset owners have implemented factor investment programs with a focus on domestic markets. Increasingly, they are also funding equity factor programs in international markets. Two catalysts are driving this trend. First, there has been a steady erosion in asset owners’ home biases, leading to more passive and active international mandates. Second, investment committees and boards of trustees have become more comfortable with using factors as a complement to core passive and traditional active allocations.

Time to Revisit Fundamentals of Quality?

Blog Post - We have seen substantial rotation in factor index performance in the past 12 months. Value, the best-performing equity factor index in the second half of 2016, was the worst performer in the first six months of 2017.

Measuring the Impact of Factors

Blog Post - In constructing portfolios, asset managers expose the portfolio to factor tilts that greatly influence fund performance. Some of these exposures, which can provide sources of excess return, may be intentional but others may not. A manager who makes the wrong bet could be on the wrong side of history.

Integrating Factors in the Investment Process: a Holistic Perspective

Blog Post - A growing number of institutional investors use factor insights in constructing portfolios, managing risk or allocating capital. However, few investors have adopted a holistic approach to factor investing.

MSCI Factor Investing Webinar Series

We discuss the evolution of factor investing, look at markets in 2016 through the lens of factor investing and conclude with a deep dive into the developing area of dynamic factor allocation.


The quality factor has demonstrated long-term outperformance against the market, but it has not received the same attention as the value, size or momentum factors.

Finding Value: Understanding Factor Investing

The perennial appeal of value investing is based on the excellent long-term performance of global value stocks. Investors today use various approaches to identify the exposure of stocks with “value” characteristics that help explain risk and return.