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Hitendra Varsani

Hitendra Varsani

Managing Director, MSCI Research

Hitendra D Varsani is a Managing Director and Global Head of Factor and Derivative Solutions Research at MSCI with 20 years of industry experience based in London. At MSCI, Hitendra has been responsible for innovative research and product development of factor, ESG and Climate indexes in equities and fixed income. Previously, Hitendra was Head of the Quantitative and Derivative Strategies team for EMEA and Asia at Morgan Stanley, where he led the development of a suite of investable global factor-based index strategies across asset classes, spanning equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities as well as futures and options. Hitendra holds a degree in mathematics and computer science from Kings College London, and a Masters in mathematical finance from Imperial College London.

Research and Insights

Articles by Hitendra Varsani

    Index Options Indicated Negative Market Sentiment

    2 mins read Quick Take | May 25, 2022 | Dinank Chitkara , Hitendra Varsani

    In the face of continued global equity-market volatility, we turn to the listed-options market to gauge investor perception of market risk over the coming months for EAFE, emerging markets and the U.S.

    How ESG Affected Corporate Credit Risk and Performance

    Research Report | Nov 30, 2021 | Rohit Mendiratta , Guido Giese , Hitendra Varsani

    Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing is a very broad field with many different investment approaches addressing various investment objectives across asset classes. While there are many studies relating to ESG in equities, the risk assessment of ESG considerations within fixed income may be equally if not more important. 

    Factors in Focus: Value Springs into Action

    7 mins read Blog | Apr 6, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Value has historically outperformed in economic recoveries. With the reopening of the global economy we examined value’s performance against other factors, and exposures from our adaptive multi-factor model at the end of Q1. 

    Reopening Economies and the Resurgence in Value

    6 mins read Blog | Mar 31, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    After 15 years of challenging performance, many have asked if value is still a valid investment strategy. But the reopening of the global economy following vaccination rollouts has reignited interest across stocks, sectors, countries and regions.

    How Are High-ESG-Rated Bond Portfolios Distinct?

    7 mins read Blog | Feb 5, 2021 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Guido Giese , Hitendra Varsani

    ESG investing makes up an increasingly large footprint in equity portfolios, but ESG integration in bond portfolios is still in its early days. We examine the characteristics that make high-ESG-rated corporate-bond portfolios distinct.

    Factors in Focus: Val-come Back! Shifting Factors as the Cycle Turns

    7 mins read Blog | Jan 6, 2021 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    In this two-year-anniversary edition of Factors in Focus, we reflect on the historical relationships between factor returns and macro cycles, which have provided useful information for investors looking to take an active stance on factor exposures based on their outlook.

    What ESG Ratings Tell Us About Corporate Bonds

    6 mins read Blog | Nov 11, 2020 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Guido Giese , Hitendra Varsani

    How did incorporating ESG factors affect the performance of corporate-bond portfolios? Did ESG add insights beyond credit ratings? How did ESG impact risk and performance of investment-grade and high-yield bonds? Short-dated versus long-dated bonds?

    Factors in Focus: Impact of Inflation on Style Factors

    8 mins read Blog | Oct 2, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Global equities continued to rally in Q3, brushing aside fear of a second wave of COVID-19 and a large economic slump. We review what it meant from an equity and fixed-income factor perspective and look at what our models showed headed into Q4

    Corporate Bonds Through a Factor and ESG Lens

    Blog | Jul 20, 2020 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    COVID-19 has had a profound impact on how companies manage cash flows and liquidity. Bond investors face the possibility of increased leverage, rating downgrades and defaults. Can factors and ESG metrics shed light on these risks?

    Factors in Focus: How Trendy Is Your Style Factor?

    9 mins read Blog | Jul 6, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar , Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    As markets rallied worldwide, investors took on high-beta exposure and rotated away from stocks with lower risk. The latest edition of Factors in Focus explores the details.

    Using Derivatives to Manage Volatile Markets

    Blog | May 4, 2020 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    We’ve previously noted growth in derivatives contracts to manage emerging-markets exposure in normal and stressed times. Now, facing a real-world stress test, how did investors use these tools? How have implied volatilities and option premium changed?

    Corporate-bond performance by factors and ESG

    Blog | Apr 14, 2020 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    The volatility seen in equity markets was also present among investment-grade corporate bonds,. We use factors and ESG ratings to dissect these bonds’ performance over Q1 2020.

    Factors in Focus: Risk sentiment and factor dynamics in a crisis

    Blog | Apr 2, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar , Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    We analyzed the market effects from COVID-19 and a Saudi Arabia/Russia oil-price war. We also examined – for the first time – credit factor performance. How did the quarter play out? What did our adaptive multi-factor model show as it ended?

    Did corporate-credit factors offer a risk-return edge?

    Blog | Jan 24, 2020 | Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Factors have gained popularity in equity investing for providing insight into the key drivers of portfolio risk and returns. Did tilting hypothetical fixed-income portfolios toward some bond-specific factors benefit investors?

    Factors and Corporate Bonds: Single and Multi-Factor Approaches to Corporate Credit

    Research Report | Jan 6, 2020 | Vipul Jain , Rohit Mendiratta , Hitendra Varsani

    Could factor investing offer a risk-return edge in USD investment-grade corporate credit? We simulated the past performance of six fixed-income factors — value, low size, quality, momentum, carry and low risk — that broadly align with MSCI’s equity factors.

    Factors in Focus: Will 2020 vision sharpen exposures?

    Blog | Jan 6, 2020 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Some global equity markets reached all-time highs and experienced limited bouts of volatility over the course of 2019. But underneath the calm surface, we saw a high degree of dispersion among factors and sectors.

    Looking to the futures of emerging markets

    Blog | Dec 11, 2019 | Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Emerging-market (EM) equities have delivered unique risk and return characteristics over the last 30 years. Are futures on EM stocks a liquid enough means to gain exposure during normal and stressed conditions?

    Factors in Focus: Momentum hits a valuation speed bump

    Blog | Oct 3, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    The momentum-value spread saw one of the largest corrections in history over the summer. What does our model show going forward?

    Using multi-country multi-currency futures in portfolio management

    Blog | Sep 3, 2019 | Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    Investors seeking to more tightly manage their exposures to regional or global benchmarks are turning to multi-country multi-currency futures.

    Factors in Focus: Risky start. Quality finish.

    Blog | Apr 2, 2019 | Waman Virgaonkar , Hitendra D Varsani , Hitendra Varsani

    We highlight the fast-moving rotation among factors that continued during Q1 2019. As we move into Q2 2019, this framework showed allocation changes in different factors.