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Zhen Wei

Zhen Wei

Managing Director, MSCI Research

Dr. Zhen Wei is a Managing Director at MSCI and responsible for bringing MSCI’s integrated investment solutions to leading investors across the APAC region. In addition, he spearheads thought leadership on China, Global Investing, Factor Investing, ESG Investing and Asset Allocation. Previously, Zhen led the Asian Pacific team for the Global Cross Asset Systematic Research division at J.P. Morgan. He also has worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. He holds a Ph.D. in statistics and a M.S. in financial mathematics from Stanford University, and has a B.S. degree from Peking University.

Research and Insights

Articles by Zhen Wei

    Micro-Cap Crowding and Liquidity Crunch in China Quant Funds

    2 mins read Quick Take | Mar 6, 2024 | Cheng Lyu, Zhen Wei

    Since early January, several forces, including leverage and crowded longs in small- and micro-cap stocks, have contributed to a mini liquidity crisis among some quantitative mutual and hedge funds in China.

    Mediating High Outflows in China’s Stock Connect

    2 mins read Quick Take | Jan 22, 2024 | Cheng Lyu, Zhen Wei

    Northbound outflows set a record in the last five months of 2023, primarily exiting the financial, consumer-staples, industrial, materials and information-technology sectors.  

    Small Caps’ Big Story in China

    5 mins read Blog | Nov 7, 2023 | Zhen Wei

    The China A shares market has grown rapidly, along with the number of small-cap stocks. We compare a market-cap-coverage approach to index construction vs. a fixed-number approach and find the former more consistently captured small-size exposure. 

    Growth-Value Leadership Diverged Regionally After Russian Invasion

    2 mins read Quick Take | Apr 6, 2022 | Peter Zangari

    For markets, Russia’s build-up of military forces along its border with Ukraine last November reinforced the growth-to-value style-factor rotation across global and regional equity markets that began in late 2020.

    How Modern Wars Affected Market Performance and Volatility

    2 mins read Quick Take | Mar 4, 2022 | Peter Zangari

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was followed by a marked increase in stock-market volatility. The Cboe Volatility Index® (VIX) spiked from 28 on Feb. 23 to 37.5 the next day.

    A Sector-Balanced Approach to China A Mega-Cap Exposure

    7 mins read Blog | Aug 27, 2021 | Shuo Xu, Zhen Wei

    For investors seeking exposure to the mega-cap segment of the China A market, a simple top-50 market-cap-weighted approach can lead to large sectoral biases. We explore how a balanced mega-cap approach may help.

    Considerations for Dedicated China Equity Allocations

    4 mins read Blog | Mar 18, 2021 | Zhen Wei, Wei Zhen

    China provides global equity investors a unique set of opportunities and challenges as they evaluate a potential dedicated investment program and how to approach asset allocation from policy configuration to portfolio implementation.

    Foundations of Dedicated China Allocations: Part 1

    Research Report | Feb 19, 2021 | Shuo Xu, Wei Xu, Zhen Wei

    China’s rise in economic influence, market size, improved market accessibility and inclusion in global indexes have led more investors to consider a dedicated China allocation. In the first of our “Foundations of Dedicated China Allocations” series, we discuss investment policy and asset allocation as investors think through setting up such a program.

    China A Shares: What Have We Learned?

    6 mins read Blog | Oct 30, 2020 | Zhen Wei

    In this first of a series of blogs covering specific index-inclusion stories, we explore China A shares’ inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index by looking back at how it occurred and what’s happened since with market and investor reaction.

    Index Futures and the Expansion of Equity Markets in EM and Asia

    Blog | Aug 4, 2020 | Zhen Wei

    Given equity market growth in the emerging markets and Asia, and the dispersion of returns across individual subregions and countries, some have looked beyond traditional long-only approaches, to others, such as futures. We explore those options.

    Equity-Market Dislocation and Index-Based Investing

    Blog | Jun 3, 2020 | Shuo Xu, Zhen Wei

    Market turbulence amid COVID-19 presented risks and opportunities. We explore how indexes , combined with the use of fundamental data, provided a wealth of information to help identify potential market dislocations.

    Outcome-Oriented Factor Investing with a ‘Barbell’ Approach

    7 mins read Blog | Jun 1, 2020 | Zhen Wei, Shuo Xu

    Though relatively new to wealth investors, index-based factor investing has some similarity to a high-conviction, outcome-oriented approach. We explore combining the two when seeking outcomes such as equity growth, yield enhancement and risk mitigation.

    How do you Prepare for the Unexpected?

    Podcast | Apr 17, 2020 | Zhen Wei

    Having moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to help Lehman Brothers’ expansion plans, Zhen Wei, Managing Director, MSCI Research, understands what it’s like to navigate from the center of a market crisis. He shares his thoughts on Asian economic and market activity as the region begins to recover and what investors are thinking about as they try and prepare for what comes next.

    Asset allocation and index futures during market crises

    Blog | Mar 25, 2020 | Shuo Xu, Wei Xu, Zhen Wei

    During market crises, institutional investors have employed derivatives contracts to hedge market risks or express views on certain performance/risk characteristics. We explore prior use of futures for exposure management and tactical asset allocation.

    Integrating ESG in emerging markets and Asia

    Blog | Mar 18, 2020 | Zhen Wei

    Previously, we have examined the relationship between ESG characteristics and financial performance in developed markets. In this blog post, we explore whether ESG characteristics  have had financially significant effects in emerging markets and Asia.

    The coronavirus epidemic: Implications for markets

    Blog | Feb 12, 2020 | Jun Wang, Zhen Wei, Thomas Verbraken

    The toll from the coronavirus has been felt throughout societies, leading to repercussions on the global economy and financial markets. We examine investor impact through markets’ economic exposures to China and factors and by stress testing portfolios.

    Beyond headlines: How markets responded to US-China trade talks

    Blog | May 9, 2019 | Zhen Wei

    Our analysis suggests that changes in equity-market valuations, analysts’ consensus earnings estimates and data on companies’ revenue exposure are metrics that provided insight into recent market and sector performances.

    How the low volatility factor has performed in China A shares

    5 mins read Blog | Oct 11, 2018 | Zhen Wei

    Which factors have performed best in the China A market, especially given its relatively high annualized market volatility? Is there too much risk to bear? We investigate the role that the minimum volatility factor has played.

    Can Your Investment Strategy Work with China A Shares?

    Blog | Jun 27, 2018 | Zhen Wei

    Many institutional investors have long viewed China A shares as an inefficient market, suggesting that active strategies such as stock-picking can thrive. However, researching a universe of over 3,500 stocks comes with huge challenges, and may lead investors to question whether factor-based systematic strategies could have worked well with China A shares.

    Winners and Losers of a U.S.-China Trade War

    Blog | Apr 17, 2018 | Zhen Wei

    The question of who wins or loses a U.S.-China trade war has more than two possible answers. While much of the analysis has focused on China’s heavier reliance on exports to the U.S., American companies (and those who invest in them) actually have greater revenue exposure to China than the other way around. In fact, 5.1% of the revenues of companies in the MSCI USA Index come from China and may be at risk as a result of a trade war. In comparison, only 2.8% of the revenues of the companies in...

    Are you Ready for China A shares?

    Blog | Jun 29, 2017 | Zhen Wei

    MSCI’s recent announcement that it will add 222 China A shares to its key benchmarks raises practical questions for global and emerging market investors.

    What do rising interest rates mean for minimum volatility strategies?

    Blog | Mar 13, 2017 | Zhen Wei

    Minimum volatility strategies have historically delivered above-average returns with below-average risk, especially in volatile market environments as have occurred in recent years. During this period, the world also has experienced low interest rates.

    The Dividend Yield Factor: Defying Conventional Wisdom

    Blog | Dec 15, 2015 | Zhen Wei

    Ever since central banks slashed interest rates in response to the Global Financial Crisis, investors have been searching for yield.