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George Bonne

George Bonne
Executive Director, MSCI Research

About the Contributor

George Bonne is an Executive Director in the Equity Core Research team, which develops new factors for MSCI’s analytics and index products. Previously, George was Director of Quantitative Research at Thomson Reuters StarMine, where he created alpha signals and quantitative. He has also worked at Applied Materials and KLA-Tencor. George received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from University of California, Irvine. George is a certified Professional Risk Manager.

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Contributions by George Bonne

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  1. BLOG

    Is There a Hedge-Fund-Crowding Factor? 

    Mar 10, 2021 Howard Zhang , George Bonne

    Factor Investing

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    Hedge funds held heavy, relatively illiquid short positions in crowded stocks before the January 2021 short squeeze. We created a risk factor that added explanatory power and may provide insights into potential short squeezes and other risks.

  2. BLOG

    Are (Stock) Bubbles Rising? 

    Feb 12, 2021 George Bonne , Howard Zhang , Jay Yao

    Factor Investing

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    How does one identify or quantify a bubble? We propose a framework for assessing the “bubbliness” of stocks and portfolios, rooted in the idea that bubbles are driven by the same forces, and share characteristics with crowded trades.

  3. BLOG

    Are Momentum’s Wings Finally Starting to Melt? 

    Nov 13, 2020 George Bonne , Jun Wang

    Factor Investing , Factors

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    Positive vaccine news on Nov. 9 caused big moves in industry and style factors. Those hit hardest this year jumped, while previous high performers slumped. Did this mark new factors leadership and a long-awaited rotation from momentum to value?

  4. COVID-19 disrupted the operating models of many businesses and forced a shift to remote working, digitization and low-contact transactions and services, which we term “Remote Operation Capability” (ROC). Some corporations were better positioned to take advantage of a remote, automated and digitized operating environment. We utilized machine-learning and natural language-processing techniques to build a potential ROC factor that looks at the extent to which a company was more likely to thrive in such an environment. The techniques we present potentially could be leveraged to capture other emerging or long-term themes.

  5. Linear regression models have been the workhorses of finance and economics. However, given increasing attention to nonlinear methods, we investigate the extent to which nonlinearities not captured by standard linear models within equity factor risk models are present. Adding nonlinear factors in simple polynomial functions of their linear counterparts contributed some additional explanatory power to the cross-section of security returns. Furthermore, some generated factor returns and information ratios higher than corresponding linear factors. Overall, we found linear models created a robust framework to identify relationships between factor exposures and security returns through simple linear factors or transformed (e.g., polynomial) variants.

  6. BLOG

    Hunting a COVID-19 factor 

    Apr 29, 2020 George Bonne , Jun Wang

    Factor Indexes , Factor Investing , Factors

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    Can we identify a COVID-19 factor and quantify companies’ exposure to it? We explored three ways to do so — from very simple to more complex methods.

  7. Peer selection and understanding relationships between companies play a pivotal role in many areas of finance. Previously, we described a methodology for quantifying the similarity between every pair of companies from the text of their business descriptions in 10-K filings, fundamentals, news mentions and return correlations. We showed how the resulting similarity score matrix could be used to identify pairs or groups of similar companies (peers), which have numerous potential applications. Here we analyze ways to use this data for modeling simple hedging portfolios, minimum-volatility (min vol) portfolios and optimized hedging portfolios.

  8. BLOG

    The coronavirus market impact spreads globally 

    Mar 5, 2020 Jun Wang , Jay Yao , George Bonne

    Factor Investing , Global Investing

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    Fear of a coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic impacts caused sharp drops in global markets after an initially mild response. We look at recent performance from a factor perspective and how quickly factor returns and volatility reverted in past crises.

  9. BLOG

    Factors separated fact from fiction 

    Oct 16, 2019 George Bonne

    Factor Indexes , Factor Investing , Factors

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    Technological advances have expanded the application of factors. What was the realm of quantitative investors has become more accessible, bringing greater transparency and potential insight into portfolio characteristics and performance drivers.

  10. The explosion in alternative data has been a blessing and a curse to investment managers. We have identified one source that provided unique and uncorrelated information when added to analysis of traditional factors and other measures of sentiment. These consumer sentiment metrics may provide investors with additional transparency into sources of risk and return, and could potentially be used to create valuable new factors.

  11. BLOG

    Back-to-school (momentum) blues? 

    Sep 13, 2019 Leon Roisenberg , George Bonne

    Factor Investing , Models/Client Cases , Factors

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    The U.S. price momentum factor, which we highlighted for elevated crowding scores and vulnerability to negative performance at the end of June, suffered sizable drawdowns in the first seven trading days of September.

  12. BLOG

    Where were the (factor) crowds this summer? 

    Aug 21, 2019 Leon Roisenberg , George Bonne

    Factor Investing , Factors

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    When factors have historically become crowded, they’ve often experienced significant drawdowns in subsequent months. Which factors were relatively crowded at the end of 2018 — and how did they perform in the first half of 2019?

  13. BLOG

    More than a feeling: Quantifying consumer sentiment 

    Jul 17, 2019 Rohit Mendiratta , George Bonne

    Factor Research Group , Factor Investing , Factors

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    Among a flood of alternative data sources, consumer sentiment based on citations online stood out.

  14. Peer selection plays a central role in many aspects of finance — including valuation, financial and competitive analysis, risk and portfolio modeling and ESG scoring and alpha generation. One common method of peers identification is industry classification, such as the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®). Here we ask if it’s possible to identify and measure relationships between companies from a systematic analysis of various types of data, including fundamentals, news and the text in company filings, and whether this data can help us better understand company relationships and the risks they may bring.

  15. BLOG

    Should we be surprised by earnings surprises? 

    Feb 1, 2019 Rohit Mendiratta , George Bonne

    Factors , Factor Research Group , Factor Investing

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    Early 2019 earnings season has already contained a number of high-profile surprises, such as Facebooks's, but how predictable are these surprises, and what happens when earnings surprises return to trend?

  16. BLOG

    Equity markets in October – Has the tide turned? 

    Nov 5, 2018 George Bonne , Leon Roisenberg

    Models/Client Cases , Factor Indexes , Factor Investing

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    October’s market sell-off reflected investors’ concerns with the sustainability of economic growth, the longer-term impact of trade tariffs and rising interest rates. In all, it seemed to be a shift away from pro-cyclical themes. Do risks remain for those areas of the market?

  17. We examine the trading activity and pricing structure in the equity options market to infer the sentiment of options traders on the underlying equity. We find that metrics constructed from the level of options trading activity relative to the underlying stock and from comparing the pricing of puts relative to calls at various moneyness levels have implications for the cross section of stock returns. Importantly, we also find that the information in options sentiment is additive and orthogonal to what is explained by other common style factors such as value and momentum, or by other measures of sentiment such as those derived from short interest or analyst revisions.

  18. BLOG

    Is momentum a crowded trade that is starting to unwind? 

    Aug 29, 2018 George Bonne , Leon Roisenberg

    Models/Client Cases , Factor Indexes , Factor Investing

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    The momentum factor has been on a tear the last year and a half. Is momentum a crowded trade that has started to unwind?

  19. BLOG

    Why is Tesla a short-selling target? 

    Aug 13, 2018 George Bonne , Dimitris Melas

    Models/Client Cases , Integrated Risk Management , Factor Investing

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    Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, suggested in a series of tweets that going private could help Tesla avoid the scrutiny of quarterly reporting and pressure from short selling. Do companies targeted by short sellers share common characteristics? Could factor analysis help investors identify stocks that may become short-selling targets?

  20. BLOG

    All FAANGs are not created equal 

    Aug 3, 2018 George Bonne

    Factors , Factor Investing

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    FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) make up nearly 40% of the NASDAQ 100 index, and smaller but significant weights in many others. Commonly grouped as tech stocks or growth companies, it seems reasonable to assume they share many similar characteristics. However, when examined through the lens of performance-driving factors, their characteristics are far from homogeneous.

  21. PAPER

    Anatomy of Hedge Fund Portfolios 

    Jul 16, 2018 George Bonne , Roman Kouzmenko , Navneet Kumar

    Download Document

    Measuring hedge funds’ positioning and potential crowding around stocks is of interest to many investors, given these funds’ reputation for outperformance. We explore the performance of hedge fund positions using MSCI HedgePlatform, which has advantages over U.S. Form 13F filings, including monthly data points, improved timeliness and full visibility of short positions.

  22. With the rise of factor investing, institutional investors increasingly have sought to understand whether their factor exposures are crowded. Current MSCI Barra equity factor risk models are designed to provide insight and detail to help institutional investors understand how a portfolio is positioned and what has driven its risk and return. The MSCI Integrated Factor Crowding Model is designed to complement the Barra model by providing investors with insight into how the rest of the market is positioned with respect to factors. The model examines crowding using a range of metrics, combining these into one standardized measure of factor crowding.

  23. BLOG

    Creating a common language for factor investing 

    Jan 18, 2018 George Bonne

    Factor Investing

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    Investors need a clear and consistent way to talk about factors. For more than 40 years, MSCI has defined how investors use factors to analyze risk and return, from individual stocks to entire portfolios. Factors are important drivers of portfolio performance and are well documented in academic research. They are used to quantify how much risk and return is attributable to different countries, sectors and styles.

  24. Factors are important systematic sources of risk and return in equity portfolios. Given the pervasive use of factors via both active and indexed 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.

  25. We introduce a new integrated short interest factor that combines multiple dimensions of short interest. The new factor combines information on the amount of shorting activity in the securities-lending market, the available lending supply, the rates investors are paying to short a security (borrow rates) and an adjustment for shorting activity due to dividend arbitrage. We find that dividend-arbitrage strategies can create large biases in short interest factors, particularly in Europe. We also find that short interest is a robust factor that provides unique explanatory power in the cross section of stock returns beyond what is explained by other well-known factors in every major market region.

  26. BLOG

    Why is “fear” missing from the “fear index”? 

    May 12, 2017 George Bonne

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    Although global uncertainties remain high, the CBOE VIX Index — also known as the “fear index,” recently reached its lowest level since 1993. Some observers have questioned whether VIX remains a reliable indicator.

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