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Stuart Doole

Stuart Doole

Managing Director, MSCI Research

Stuart Doole is Managing Director and Global Head of Index New Product Development Research. He leads a global team responsible for developing new indexes and enhancing existing products. Previously, he worked on both the buyside, in portfolio management, investment research and risk management, and the sell-side, producing top-down macro and bottom-up quantitative research. Stuart has a BA and a DPhil in Mathematics from Oxford University and an MSc in Nonlinear Mathematics from Bath University.

Research and Insights

Articles by Stuart Doole

    The Pace of Fast Change: Growth vs. Thematic Investing

    6 mins read Blog | Mar 16, 2021 | Anil Rao , Stuart Doole

    Investors considering thematic investments to gain exposure to firms whose fortunes may not be captured by fundamental growth measures, may ask: What are the key opportunities – and challenges – that distinguish thematic from growth investing?

    A Thematic Lens for Portfolios

    6 mins read Blog | Dec 17, 2020 | Stuart Doole , Kumar Neeraj , Vishad Bhalodia

    We show how MSCI Thematic Exposure relevance scores helped position growth funds, as an example, alongside thematic funds, and highlighted key megatrends that drove performance. A thematic lens can help analyze other categories and strategies as well.

    Aligning Portfolios with the Paris Agreement

    Research Report | Oct 26, 2020 | Kumar Neeraj , Véronique Menou , Stuart Doole

    The pressure on institutional investors to act on climate change and demonstrate its influence on their decision-making and portfolio construction continues to grow. Increasingly, the focus is on the alignment of client investment strategies with the decarbonization 

    Aligning with the Paris Agreement: An Index Approach

    5 mins read Blog | Oct 22, 2020 | Stuart Doole , Véronique Menou , Kumar Neeraj

    Institutional investors are under pressure to align their strategies with a maximum global temperature increase of 1.5oC as targeted by the Paris Agreement. We examine how they can approach this while respecting other investment constraints.

    Building Better ESG Indexes: 30 Years On

    7 mins read Blog | May 27, 2020 | Stuart Doole

    How ESG indexes have evolved over the past 30 years: A Q&A with Stuart Doole, head of new index development at MSCI, about his conversations with investors since the COVID19 crisis started, the growth of ESG investing and how MSCI Research uses AI and machine learning in developing its ESG indexes.

    Indexing Change: Understanding MSCI Thematic Indexes

    Research Report | Nov 22, 2019 | Vishad Bhalodia , Stuart Doole , Kumar Neeraj , Ketaki Garg , Devika Ghate

    Thematic investing has become increasingly popular with institutional and retail investors. We review the concept and how it differs from factor and ESG investment processes. Additionally, we lay out how we model various themes to build a rule-based index methodology representing the performance of companies exposed to a certain trend.

    Climate Change and Climate Risk: An Index Perspective

    Research Report | Jul 10, 2019 | Manish Shakdwipee , Stuart Doole

    A transition to a low-carbon economy could reduce demand for carbon-intensive products and services in favor of low-/zero-carbon counterparts. This migration in demand could also alter the risk-return profile — not only of individual companies but of some entire industries. The MSCI Climate Change Index aims to reflect these potential changes, increasing the index weight of companies identified as exposed to a low-carbon transition, while decreasing the weight in companies negatively exposed...

    What drives the capacity of factor index strategies?

    Blog | Oct 30, 2018 | Stuart Doole

    As factor investing becomes increasingly “business as usual,” institutional investors have become keenly interested in the ability of strategies that replicate factor indexes to persistently capture desired exposures without compromising exposure to the target factor. We illustrate six index design approaches that can be used to tackle this challenge.

    How can Factors be Combined?

    Research Report | Jun 4, 2018 | Abhishek Gupta , Padmakar Kulkarni , Stuart Doole

    Making allocations to individual factors typically requires strong investment beliefs, as factor returns have been cyclical in nature. When weighing the pros and cons of different multi-factor indexed approaches, institutional investors often evaluate both bottom-up or top-down options. We consider the attractions of both, using a bottom-up approach to build a multi-factor index from stocks that are favorably exposed to the value, size, quality and momentum factors, compared with an...

    What’s Your Factor Footprint?

    Research Report | Apr 6, 2018 | Mehdi Alighanbari , Stuart Doole

    As the more alarmist discussion of factor meltdowns due to crowding has dissipated, institutional investors have turned toward understanding the investment capacity of factor-based strategies. The key question is to gauge how much capital can be invested in funds that replicate factor indexes before their return expectations diminish to unattractive levels. In this Research Insight, we use characteristics of factor indexes to gauge their capacity, using the MSCI Minimum Volatility Index as a...

    The MSCI Factor ESG Target Indexes

    Research Report | Sep 28, 2017 | Padmakar Kulkarni , Mehdi Alighanbari , Stuart Doole

    Institutional investors are moving toward integrating ESG criteria into their portfolios and their factor allocations in particular. But they face key challenges in doing so: How can they enhance their strategies’ ESG profiles while achieving the desired exposure to their target factors? Our research shows this can be achieved by simultaneously incorporating ESG integration alongside factor exposure targeting in index construction. The MSCI Factor ESG target indexes’ “one-step” approach...

    Integrating ESG criteria into factor index construction

    Blog | Sep 27, 2017 | Stuart Doole

    Institutional investors increasingly are moving toward integrating ESG criteria into their portfolios and their factor allocations, in particular. This shift is driven by their recognition of the financial relevance of ESG issues to their risk management and their focus on long-term sustainable investing.

    Keep it Broad: An Approach to ESG Strategic Tilting

    Research Report | Feb 8, 2017 | Kumar Neeraj , Véronique Menou , Stuart Doole , Laura Nishikawa

    HOW CAN UNIVERSAL OWNERS INTEGRATE ESG PRINCIPLES WHILE MAINTAINING A BROAD AND DIVERSIFIED INVESTMENT UNIVERSE? Institutional investors are increasingly looking for ways to integrate ESG considerations into their investment decisions. By doing so, they may aim to mitigate long-term risks, generate higher risk-adjusted performance and/or align investments with broader societal objectives. As ESG investment guidelines become more commonplace among asset owners, and as many continue to build...

    Currency Hedging: Adapting to Volatility

    Research Report | Apr 26, 2016 | Saurabh Katiyar , Stuart Doole , Wei Zhen

    In the past, institutional investors largely ignored currency hedging in their international equity portfolios. With the globalization of the equity portfolio and recent market volatility, they no longer can afford to do so. However, how to hedge foreign-exchange exposure is receiving renewed scrutiny. Static hedges have delivered higher risk-adjusted returns compared with unhedged portfolios over a long-term horizon. The static hedge, however, faces challenges in adapting to changing market...

    The MSCI Adaptive Hedge Indexes

    Research Report | Mar 10, 2016 | Jashu Krishna , Stuart Doole , Katiyar Saurabh

    Global equity portfolios expose investors to currency risk. Those wishing to minimize currency effects often hedge that currency exposure without touching their underlying international equity portfolios. However, currency fluctuations may also increase the investment returns and those movements can be sharp. We describe how the MSCI Adaptive Hedge Indexes use versions of four well-known currency indicators – Value, Momentum, Carry, and Volatility – to systematically determine a level of...

    Constructing Low Volatility Strategies

    Research Report | Jan 25, 2016 | Durga Shankar , Mehdi Alighanbari , Stuart Doole , Lokesh Mrig

    Low volatility is one of the few factors that have historically performed well in turbulent markets. Moreover, over long periods of time, this defensive strategy has produced a premium over the market, contravening one of the most basic theories in finance — that one should not be rewarded with greater returns for taking less than market risk. Since the global financial crisis hit in 2008, low volatility has garnered increased attention from institutional investors. In this paper, we explore...

    Raising Minimum Governance Standards - Selecting Quality Companies for the Long Term

    Research Report | Dec 7, 2015 | Ric Marshall , Stuart Doole , Kumar Neeraj

    Institutional investors concerned with excessive focus on short-term results are increasingly seeking to improve minimum corporate governance standards of their portfolio companies. To date, active engagement has been widely recognized as an effective means to promote sustainable long-term growth and risk management of a portfolio, but such approaches can be costly and difficult to scale. We put forward a potential approach for institutional investors to systematically raise minimum...

    Raising Minimum Governance Standards

    Research Report | Dec 7, 2015 | Ric Marshall , Stuart Doole , Kumar Neeraj

    Institutional investors concerned with excessive focus on short-term results are increasingly seeking to improve minimum corporate governance standards of their portfolio companies. To date, active engagement has been widely recognized as an effective means to promote sustainable long-term growth and risk management of a portfolio, but such approaches can be costly and difficult to scale. We put forward a potential approach for institutional investors to systematically raise minimum...

    Research Spotlight - Lost in the Crowd? Identifying and Measuring Crowded Strategies and Trades

    Research Report | Jun 26, 2015 | Stuart Doole , Stan Radchenko , Mehmet Bayraktar , Altaf Kassam

    The “quant meltdown” of 2007 and the subsequent global financial crisis highlighted the risks of crowded investment strategies. The recent growth of “smart beta” indexes and their use in ETFs has added to concerns about crowding. In this Research Spotlight, we explore the risks posed by crowded strategies and explain how the MSCI Crowding Scorecard enables asset managers to assess these risks as they exist in today’s markets. The Scorecard employs four metrics...

    Research Insight - Lost in the Crowd? Identifying and Measuring Crowded Strategies and Trades

    Research Report | Jun 22, 2015 | Stuart Doole , Stan Radchenko , Mehmet Bayraktar , Altaf Kassam

    AUTHORS: Mehmet K. Bayraktar, Stuart Doole, Altaf Kassam, Stan RadchenkoThe “quant meltdown” of August 2007 and the subsequent unfolding of the global financial crisis highlighted the risks of crowded investment strategies. The rapid growth of smart beta indexes and their use in ETFs has added to the need for scrutiny. In this Research Insight, we propose a set of four key metrics (our “Crowding Scorecard”) for monitoring and detecting the crowding risk of any...

    Sectoral Aspects of Global Infrastructure Investment

    Research Report | Jun 15, 2015 | Anthony Francesco , Stuart Doole , Peter Hobbs , Brent Mcelreath , Abhinav Sharma

    As the MSCI Global Quarterly Infrastructure Asset Index grows in breadth and depth it provides increasing insights into the performance of the Infrastructure Asset Class, globally.  In this Research paper, we focus on two broad areas related to sector-specific nuances of the asset class. First, the differential performance and volatility of the Transport and Power sectors, the two dominant streams of activity in the index.  Second, a comparison of unlisted and listed infrastructure,...

    The MSCI Diversified Multi-Factor Indexes

    Research Report | May 27, 2015 | Chin Ping Chia , Stuart Doole , Dimitris Melas , Padmakar Kulkarni

    Multi-factor indexes are important tools for institutional investors seeking diversified exposure to factors that have historically generated premia over long horizons. In this Research Spotlight, we examine the new MSCI Diversified Multi-Factor (DMF) Index family, which selects stocks with exposures to the value, momentum, quality and low size factors, while keeping risk at the level of the market.

    MSCI Diversified Multiple-factor Indexes

    Research Report | May 7, 2015 | Chin Ping Chia , Stuart Doole , Dimitris Melas , Padmakar Kulkarni

    Maximizing Factor Exposure While Controlling Volatility. May 2015 Multi-factor indexes are important tools for investors seeking diversified exposure to factors that have historically generated premia over long horizons.  In this Research Insight, we examine the new MSCI Diversified Multiple-Factor (DMF) Index family. These indexes combine four well-researched factors — value, momentum, size and quality — with a control mechanism designed to keep volatility close to the level of the...