Expert's View 名家觀點


八月 1 , 2018  

The Edge of the Performance Horizon


by Charles Cheng, CFA
鄭又銓, CFA


As we approach the ten-year anniversary of the worst parts of the global financial crisis, one of the more basic tasks for individual investors is becoming more complicated- analyzing the track records of investment funds.




Typically, fund comparisons, whether against benchmarks or other funds are done over a fixed period such as three or five years. The problem is that such a limited time is not enough to understand the fund’s performance over different market and economic conditions.

通常情況下,對於不同基金的比較,無論是參照各種基準 (benchmark) 還是與其他基金比較都是在一段固定的時間內進行的,例如三年或五年。問題是,如此有限的時間不足以了解基金在不同市場和經濟條件下的表現。


Source: Fidelity Investments



Different types of sectors and companies could perform differently during various stages of the business cycle. Therefore funds that are predisposed toward certain types of stocks may perform better in the short term in certain market environments but not necessarily through the whole cycle. Historically, the time between major world recessions has been roughly 8 years, plus or minus a few years. The popular fund rating service, Morningstar, bases their star rating methodology on blends of time horizons of over three, five, or ten year periods depending on what is available.




The most recent cycle is at the upper end of that range, with the previous market top before the financial crisis in October 2007 and the market reaching a bottom in March 2009. A three-year track record would show markets trending in only one direction, while a five year track record features a huge disparity in performance between the US market and Emerging Markets, and technology stocks versus other sectors. While this may be in large part due to secular rather than cyclical trends, it is also true that managers predisposed to companies in certain styles and sectors will have benefitted, something that may not have happened in a different economic environment.



In another year, assuming there is not yet another major recession, the trailing ten year record will feature only the recovery period from the 2007-2008 crisis. Considering this, here are some things investors can keep in mind to make their fund comparisons more relevant:



    • Find the longest track record possible for each fund. Multi-fund comparisons will cut off historical performance periods to a shorter common time frame, but full performance records can be easily obtained for individual funds. 找出每個基金可能的最長記錄。多個基金的比較通常是放在一個相對較短的共同時間範圍,而單一基金的完整業績記錄是可以輕鬆獲得的。


    • Fund benchmarks typically have longer track records than funds themselves. If the fund tracks the benchmark relatively closely, an investor can use the extended benchmark track record to get a sense of how the fund might perform in a different market environment. 基金基准通常比基金本身俱有更長的跟踪記錄。如果一個基金相對密切地跟踪基準值,那麼投資者可以使用基準跟踪記錄來大致了解基金在不同市場環境中的表現。


    • Nothing can replace having an in depth understanding of a manager’s strategy. The more information an investor can gather about the manager’s philosophy and strategy for outperformance, the more insight they have on whether their track record is more to do with a repeatable investment process versus just being lucky in the current market environment. 對於基金經理人戰略的深入理解是無可取代的。投資者可以收集的有關表現卓越的基金的理念和策略的信息越多,他們就更能分清該基金的過往記錄是與一個可重複的投資流程更相關,還是僅僅因為是在當前市場環境中的幸運。



Mr. Cheng is a managing partner at Clarity Investment Partners, a Hong Kong based independent private investment office.