“Risk Parity” Was More Risk and No Parity

by David Kranzler
Investment Research Dynamics

The “60/40 risk parity” hedge fund strategy has been decimated in the market sell-off. The strategy was supposed to generate consistent returns while minimizing risk. So why not apply hedge fund leverage to the trade and enjoy multiples of “consistent returns” and “minimized risk?” The risk parity funds were among the most leveraged going into the market plunge, which began in earnest on February 19th, though the Dow started tipping over a week earlier.

We’ve seen this “excess returns/alpha” with “minimized risk” fail badly twice in the era of modern finance – i.e. the post Bretton Woods era of unfettered expansion of fiat money supply, highly questionable use of leverage and untested “quant” strategies.

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