White Paper

How Do Your Small Caps Really Create Value?

Vassilios Papathanakos, PhD Distinguished Researcher

Key Ideas

  • Why does an equal-weighted portfolio outperform a capitalization-weighted portfolio over time?
  • Most studies conclude this is because the equal-weighted portfolio has a larger allocation to small-cap stocks which are expected to outperform large caps.
  • Our paper challenges that conclusion and shows that it is the need to rebalance the equal-weighted portfolio that explains the majority of the outperformance.
  • We apply a new form of performance attribution which quantifies this rebalancing premium, and has potential application to other popular risk premia.

A well-known, but misinterpreted, effect

There has been no shortage of studies over the years concluding that portfolios of smaller-capitalization companies are expected to provide a return premium over their larger-capitalization counterparts over time.