IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Factor Investing: The Rocky Road from Long-Only to Long-Short


  • Marie Briere
  • Ariane Szafarz


This paper examines how restrictions on short positions affect the financial attractiveness of factor investing. To fill the gap between unconstrained long-short allocations and restricted long-only portfolios, we consider two in-between strategies. The first imposes that only the market can be shorted; the second is the so-called “130/30” or “active extension” trading strategy, which caps total short exposure at 30%. The takeaways from our research are twofold. First, short sales contribute significantly to the mean-variance performance of efficient factor-based portfolios. Second, the factor portfolios built originally by Fama and French (1992) with the purpose of developing asset pricing are impressively clear-sighted when it comes to portfolio management. Indeed, combining these portfolios generates mean-variance performances similar to those of optimized long-short portfolios, except for low levels of volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie Briere & Ariane Szafarz, 2017. "Factor Investing: The Rocky Road from Long-Only to Long-Short," Working Papers CEB 17-013, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/249918

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Œuvre complète ou partie de l'œuvre
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. "The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-465, June.
    2. Novy-Marx, Robert, 2013. "The other side of value: The gross profitability premium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-28.
    3. Oscar Bernal Diaz & Astrid Herinckx & Ariane Szafarz, 2014. "Which short-selling regulation is the least damaging to market efficiency? Evidence from Europe," Post-Print CEB, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 37, pages 244-256, March.
    4. Lesmond, David A. & Schill, Michael J. & Zhou, Chunsheng, 2004. "The illusory nature of momentum profits," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-380, February.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9297 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bruce I. Jacobs & Kenneth N. Levy & Harry M. Markowitz, 2005. "Portfolio Optimization with Factors, Scenarios, and Realistic Short Positions," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 53(4), pages 586-599, August.
    7. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. "On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    8. Israel, Ronen & Moskowitz, Tobias J., 2013. "The role of shorting, firm size, and time on market anomalies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 275-301.
    9. Robert A. Korajczyk & Ronnie Sadka, 2004. "Are Momentum Profits Robust to Trading Costs?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1039-1082, June.
    10. Almazan, Andres & Brown, Keith C. & Carlson, Murray & Chapman, David A., 2004. "Why constrain your mutual fund manager?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 289-321, August.
    11. Marie Brière & Bastien Drut & Valérie Mignon & Kim Oosterlinck & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Is the Market Portfolio Efficient? A New Test of Mean-Variance Efficiency when all Assets are Risky," Finance, Presses universitaires de Grenoble, vol. 34(1), pages 7-41.
    12. Manfred GILLI & Enrico SCHUMANN & Giacomo DI TOLLO & Gerda CABEJ, 2008. "Constructing Long/Short Portfolios with the Omega ratio," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 08-34, Swiss Finance Institute.
    13. Wang, Zhenyu, 1998. "Efficiency loss and constraints on portfolio holdings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 359-375, June.
    14. Jorion, Philippe, 1986. "Bayes-Stein Estimation for Portfolio Analysis," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 279-292, September.
    15. Basak, Gopal & Jagannathan, Ravi & Sun, Guoqiang, 2002. "A direct test for the mean variance efficiency of a portfolio," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 1195-1215, July.
    16. R. David Mclean & Jeffrey Pontiff, 2016. "Does Academic Research Destroy Stock Return Predictability?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(1), pages 5-32, February.
    17. Kewei Hou & Chen Xue & Lu Zhang, 2015. "Editor's Choice Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 28(3), pages 650-705.
    18. Robert Novy-Marx & Mihail Velikov, 2016. "A Taxonomy of Anomalies and Their Trading Costs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 29(1), pages 104-147.
    19. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2015. "A five-factor asset pricing model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 1-22.
    20. Jones, Charles M. & Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Short-sale constraints and stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 207-239.
    21. Clifford S. Asness & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2013. "Value and Momentum Everywhere," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(3), pages 929-985, June.
    22. Ang, Andrew, 2014. "Asset Management: A Systematic Approach to Factor Investing," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199959327.
    23. Campbell R. Harvey & Yan Liu & Heqing Zhu, 2016. "Editor's Choice … and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 29(1), pages 5-68.
    24. Jobson, J D & Korkie, Bob M, 1981. "Performance Hypothesis Testing with the Sharpe and Treynor Measures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 889-908, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Fletcher, Jonathan, 2018. "Betas V characteristics: Do stock characteristics enhance the investment opportunity set in U.K. stock returns?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 114-129.
    2. Zaremba, Adam & Andreu, Laura, 2018. "Paper profits or real money? Trading costs and stock market anomalies in country ETFs," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 181-192.
    3. Fletcher, Jonathan, 2018. "An empirical examination of the diversification benefits of U.K. international equity closed-end funds," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 23-34.
    4. Marie Briere & Ariane Szafarz, 2018. "Factors and Sectors in Asset Allocation: Stronger Together?," Working Papers CEB 18-016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item


    Investment; asset allocation; factor investing; long-only; long-short; 130-30;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/249918. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.