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Oleg Ruban

Oleg Ruban

Head of Analytics Applied Research for Asia Pacific

Oleg Ruban, executive director, focuses on portfolio management and risk-related research for asset owners and investment managers in the Asia Pacific region. Previously, Oleg worked as an emerging market economist and a quantitative strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort. Oleg has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford and MSc degrees from the University of Warwick and Manchester Business School. He also has a Ph.D. in Finance from Manchester Business School.

Research and Insights

Articles by Oleg Ruban

    Real Estate Has Bucked the Deglobalization Trend

    6 mins read Blog | May 27, 2022 | Oleg Ruban , Bryan Reid

    Real estate investors have historically exhibited a strong home bias. But there is evidence that real estate may have become more global based on return and transaction behavior — bucking the trend, evident in listed markets, toward deglobalization.

    Did Deglobalization Add to Inflation Woes?

    7 mins read Blog | Dec 13, 2021 | Román Mendoza , Oleg Ruban

    Inflation watchers, aware of how COVID-19 led to trillions of dollars of stimulus, may want to note the longer-term shift toward deglobalization. As these forces collide, they may lead to rising global inflation and affect asset-allocation strategies.

    How Diversified Are US Equity Investors?

    6 mins read Blog | Nov 24, 2020 | Oleg Ruban

    The universe of stocks represented by the MSCI USA Index comprises over 600 securities. U.S. investors might assume there are ample opportunities for diversification and potential risk reduction in the domestic market. Is this assumption correct?

    Did private capital deliver?

    Blog | Jan 30, 2020 | Yang Liu , Oleg Ruban

    Private-capital funds enjoyed record inflows from 2014 to 2018, as asset owners sought high-returning assets that had low correlations to traditional public asset classes. Did private capital deliver?

    The rise of fundamental factors in China A shares

    Blog | Jun 6, 2019 | Oleg Ruban

    Commonly held perceptions about China A shares have influenced investors to think factor strategies may not work in the Chinese equity markets. Our research suggests this may be changing.

    Which Factors Mattered in China?

    Blog | Nov 7, 2018 | Oleg Ruban

    Chinese equity prices have hardly been music to investors’ ears so far in 2018. The MSCI China A Onshore IMI Index — the broadest MSCI A shares index designed to represent the performance of the overall A shares market — has declined more than 25% in local currency terms through Oct. 31, 2018. Were there factors in this market that outperformed?

    Vive la Différence: Active Factor Strategies in China A Shares

    Blog | Jun 26, 2018 | Oleg Ruban

    Clients often ask us whether factor insights can be applied to construct equity portfolios in a particular market. They wonder whether certain market or economic characteristics might prevent factors from working: Different countries and their equity markets are at different stages of development, have different depth and may have dominant sectors.

    Improving Stock Selection in the Age of Big Data

    Blog | Nov 16, 2017 | Oleg Ruban

    In the age of big data, fundamental stock pickers face a major challenge. Stock selection typically depends on establishing research conviction in the operating models of companies, such as identifying inexpensive businesses that demonstrate sustainable competitive advantage, disciplined capital management and strong corporate governance. The stock picker’s edge may rely on analyzing information and top-notch research skills.

    Stress Testing a China Hard Landing

    Report | Oct 23, 2015 | Zsolt Simon , Raghu Suryanarayanan , Carlo Acerbi , Jahiz Barlas , Oleg Ruban , Thomas Verbraken

    The persistent decline in Chinese equities and commodity prices this summer renewed investor concerns about a possible economic hard landing in the Asian giant. Combining the MSCI Macroeconomic Risk Model with RiskManager’s predictive stress testing capabilities, we illustrate how investors can quantify the potential impact of a China hard landing on global multi-asset class portfolios. We design two stress test scenarios: a medium contagion scenario and a high contagion scenario. Under the...

    Research Insight - Capturing Factor Premia - April 2014

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dimitris Melas , Jyh-huei Lee

    Using the lens of the Barra US Equity Model (USE4S), this Research Insight provides a practical guide to constructing investable factor portfolios. This paper begins by discussing the general concept of a factor portfolio. We then explore the role of optimization in making a 'pure factor portfolio' investable. We assess how investability constraints impact the performance of factor-replicating portfolios. Finally, we discuss how MSCI Market Neutral Barra Factor Indexes can be used in an...

    Market Insight - Stress Scenarios for Japanese Government Bond Yields - October 2013

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban

    This paper, second in a series of three, examines the potential impact of rising Japanese Government Bond yields on a range of sample portfolios.  We create scenarios that model market conditions associated with a rise in yields using factors in the Barra Integrated Model.  A key insight is that the underlying cause of the rise in yields matters greatly for the spillover effects associated with the scenario. In particular, the different stories behind the rise in yields have...

    Analyzing Current Risks in the Japanese Government Bond Market

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban

    The Japanese Government Bond (JGB) market rivals the US Treasury market in size. It displays a number of distinctive features that may have contributed to low yields in recent years, despite a deteriorating fiscal environment in Japan. Nevertheless, observers have argued that it is possible for JGB yields to increase significantly in coming years. In this series of stress testing papers we will help clients understand what scenarios may potentially cause JGB yields to rise, analyze the...

    Research Insight - Constructing Quality Risk Models - June 2013

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Jyh-huei Lee , Jay Yao

    In this Research Insight, we outline the building blocks essential to constructing an effective standard risk model. We then turn to how risk models are used in the investment process — that is, constructing efficient portfolios and attributing their risk and return. Finally, we describe the best practices of proprietary model construction, including an empirical investigation of the economic impact of using proprietary models in portfolio optimization.

    Global Market Report - Forty Years of Better Betas - March 2013

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Zoltán Nagy

    In this report, we look at the period between January 1997 and December 2012, comparing two methods of estimating the market risk of a portfolio: historical beta and predicted beta, based on the Barra Global Equity Model (GEM3). We investigate this question: which estimation approach performed best during periods of market stress? We find that during our sample period, predicted beta appears to be a more accurate than historical beta as a gauge of the defensiveness or aggressiveness of a...

    Is Your Risk Model Letting Your Optimized Portfolio Down?

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dan Stefek , Jyh-huei Lee , Jay Yao

    Many portfolio managers use multi-factor models, but not all factor models are equally effective in forecasting risk. Flawed model construction can result in optimized portfolios that are not efficient.  This paper addresses the concern of portfolio managers that some risk models used in optimization may not be forecasting risk accurately, or may be creating suboptimal portfolios. We review pitfalls in portfolio construction and explain how MSCI’s best practices in model building are...

    Manager Crowding and Portfolio Construction

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dan Stefek , Jyh-huei Lee , Jay Yao

    Following the “quant meltdown” of August 2007, market observers became concerned that quant strategies were leading to crowded trades. This paper analyzes the impact that a risk model used in portfolio construction has on manager crowding by identifying the drivers of crowding and by illustrating their impact.  A risk model’s effect on manager crowding depends, in part, on how alphas used by different managers are related to each other, and to the risk model factors. We...

    US Market Report - After the Storm - Navigating US Equity Markets in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy - November 2012

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we examine the impact of past US natural disasters on the cross-section of US equity returns. Investors might expect the recent hurricane to have an impact on the broad market, as well as pronounced effects in certain industries and sectors. Based on our analysis, we conclude that few predictable patterns emerged in the cross-section of equity returns following the natural disasters that we analyzed.

    Alpha-Risk Factor Misalignment

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dan Stefek , Jyh-huei Lee , Jay Yao

    Portfolio managers have long worried that discrepancies between risk and alpha factors may somehow detract from the performance of their optimized portfolios. This paper presents a comprehensive overview of alpha-risk factor alignment and its consequences, showing how penalizing the residual alpha may help reduce the unintended bets resulting from misalignment. However, we also illustrate that correcting for misalignment may not always be necessary and can sometimes be...

    Global Market Report - The Mid-Cap Effect - December 2012

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Jose Menchero , Zoltán Nagy

    In this paper, we show how Barra models capture the risk and return characteristics of mid-cap stocks using the Non-Linear Size factor. This factor describes the return difference between mid-cap stocks and the overall market, net other factors. We show that since the global financial crisis of 2008, the impressive performance of global mid-caps was attributed, in large part, to their exposure to Non-Linear Size. Monitoring the exposure to this factor provides investors with a view of...

    Market Insight - When Hurricane Sandy Closed Wall Street - November 2012

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Christopher Finger , Oleg Ruban

    The US equity market closures necessitated by Hurricane Sandy posed the potential for returns or risks to spike once the markets reopened.  We examine a number of RiskMetrics and Barra risk models in the aftermath of the storm, concluding that markets largely returned to normalcy, and no special model treatment of those days was necessary.

    Europe Market Report - Identifying Safe Havens in Europe - July 2012

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Zoltán Nagy

    The crisis in the European sovereign bond and equity markets that started in late 2009 is still not resolved. As European economies and the local equity markets form a strongly connected network, the whole region – including core countries – is exposed to potential negative developments in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy. In this report, we show how the Barra Europe Equity model (EUE3) can be used to help identify stocks that are less sensitive to the unfavorable...

    The Perils of Parity

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dimitris Melas

    This paper examines the recent trend of adding leverage to fixed income allocations of multi-asset class portfolios of large asset owners. We show that the optimality of adding leverage from a volatility-reduction perspective depends on the correlations between bonds and equities, the relative volatility of bonds versus equities, and the weights of the two asset classes in the portfolio. If correlations between bonds and equities are negative, adding leverage could reduce the volatility of a...

    Stress Testing in the Investment Process

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dimitris Melas

    This paper presents a framework for conducting effective stress tests and incorporating insights from stress tests in portfolio construction. We examine how to determine the scope of the test, how to construct severe, but plausible scenarios, how to transmit the shock to the portfolio and how to incorporate the results of stress tests in portfolio construction. Stress testing can be a useful complement to risk model outputs, such as volatility, VaR, and expected shortfall. The key advantage...

    The Curse of Olympian Spending with International Borrowing

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Anand Iyer , Philippe Vannerem

    This Research Insight examines the impact of the unfolding European sovereign debt crisis, focusing on Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Italy (GPISI). We use the new, short-horizon Barra Integrated Model (BIM Daily) to measure sovereign bond investment risk and provide insight into this market development. First, we highlight the background of this emerging crisis, in particular the links to government debt, fiscal deficits, maturity distribution, and levels of external borrowing. Then,...

    International Diversification from a UK Perspective

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Dimitris Melas

    The market turmoil of 2008 highlighted the importance of risk management to investors in the UK and worldwide. Realized risk levels and risk forecasts from the Barra Europe Equity Model (EUE2L) are both currently at the highest level for the last two decades. We explore the historical diversification effects of an international allocation for UK investors. We illustrate that investing only in the UK market can be considered an active deviation from a global benchmark. A UK domestic strategy...

    Global Market Report - What Do We Know About Rapid Increases in Risk?

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Rachael Smith

    Following a benign first quarter of 2012, investors have seen a breakdown in the Eurozone, which may cause a significant increase in risk aversion. Implied volatility is a common gauge of investor risk aversion and investor sentiment. In this report, we analyze factor returns in different volatility regimes and found that stocks with positive exposures to Size, Dividend Yield, Momentum and negative exposures to Residual Volatility and Leverage may have provided a hedge during rapid...

    Europe Market Report - The Recent Value Conundrum - April 2012

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Zoltán Nagy

    According to popular index-based measures, value stocks have tended to underperform growth stocks since 2010.  Alternative measures  of the value effect have shown different return profiles. In this report, we compare these different measures while touching on the practical issues of value investing, illustrating how unintended biases in a portfolio designed to capture the value effect could strongly influence its performance. 

    Quantitative Insight - The Impact of Macro Factors for Canada Equities

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban

    The characteristics of the Canadian economy suggest that commodity returns are an important risk driver for Canadian equities. One of the highlights of the new Barra Canada Equity model (CAE5) is an enhanced style factor structure, which includes two commodity-related factors: oil and gold sensitivity. These factors explain the return differences between stocks caused by sensitivity to spot commodity returns. We illustrate how these factors add value by providing information in addition to...

    Does Style Make the Sector

    Report | Jul 15, 2014 | Oleg Ruban , Zoltán Nagy

    Sector rotation strategies are a staple of finance textbooks. This paper discusses sector rotation strategies and contributes beyond the typical literature by highlighting the need to look at the style profile within each sector. Most of the earlier studies on sector rotation focus on the links between industry membership and the macroeconomic or market cycles. We find that style exposures play an important role in sector performance, and returns driven by style effects can dominate returns...