Small Caps - No Small Oversight: Institutional Investors and Global Small Cap Equities
Many investors recognize that their reference universe should encompass large, mid and small caps, and furthermore accept the investment belief that smaller companies should earn a risk premium over larger ones. Nevertheless, in practice, most of these investors underweight the small cap segment. Institutional investors—particularly in Europe and Asia—tend to have limited small cap representation, even within their own markets.
We review various aspects of this puzzle and argue that omitting small caps is in fact a significant active decision which many investors may be making unintentionally. Excluding small caps represents an active decision to ignore up to 14% of the universe and amounts to a negative view on the small cap premium. This active decision would have forfeited 60 bps of annual performance over the last decade and could have consumed a substantial part of an asset owner’s risk budget as well, in the range of 50% to 75%.
Agenda Topics Include:
- What is the typical institutional small cap allocation and what should it be?
- Excluding small caps is a significant “active” decision which amounts to taking a negative view on the small cap premium
- Standard arguments for not investing in small caps and their potential consequences
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