What is factor investing, and how does it work?

Discover how leveraging specific market factors can lead to smarter investment decisions and potentially higher returns. Begin your journey into factor investing with our comprehensive guide, tailored for both beginners and seasoned investors, updated for 2024.

Factor investing is an investment approach that focuses on specific factors or characteristics believed to drive returns in financial markets. These factors can include attributes such as value, size, momentum, quality, volatility, and dividend yield.

Factor investing encompasses two primary types of factors that influence the returns of stocks, bonds, and other assets: macroeconomic factors and style factors. Macroeconomic factors pertain to broader risks across assets, while style factors focus on explaining returns and risks within assets.

Examples of common macroeconomic factors include inflation rates, GDP growth, and unemployment rates. On the other hand, microeconomic factors involve considerations such as a company’s creditworthiness, share liquidity, and stock price volatility. Style factors revolve around distinctions like growth versus value stocks, market capitalization, and industry sectors.

Advantages and disadvantages of factor investing

Factor investing offers potential benefits in terms of enhanced returns, diversification, risk management, and a systematic approach. However, investors should also be aware of the potential disadvantages. Let’s walk through some advantages and disadvantages of factor investing.

Here’s a few advantages of factor investing:

  • Enhanced returns: By targeting factors that have historically outperformed the market over the long term, factor investing aims to generate higher returns than broad market indices.
  • Risk management: Factor investing strategies often focus on factors that exhibit low correlation with each other, providing diversification benefits and reducing overall portfolio risk.
  • Systematic approach: Factor investing follows a rules-based, systematic approach, which can help investors avoid emotional decision-making and maintain discipline during market fluctuations.
  • Customization: Factor investing allows investors to tailor their portfolios to specific factors or combinations of factors that align with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and market views.

Here’s a few disadvantages of factor investing to consider:

  • Unpredictability: Factors that have outperformed in the past may not continue to do so in the future, leading to underperformance.
  • Factor crowding: Popular factors may become overcrowded as more investors allocate capital to factor-based strategies, potentially reducing their effectiveness.
  • Factor timing risk: Timing the entry and exit of factor exposures can be challenging, as factors can experience periods of underperformance or elevated volatility.

Factor investing strategies

There are numerous factor investing strategies, each focusing on different characteristics that are believed to drive returns in financial markets. Some common factor investing strategies include:

  • Value investing: Focuses on undervalued stocks relative to what the asset is worth.
  • Momentum investing: Capitalizes on the tendency of asset prices to continue their recent trends, investing in assets that have exhibited strong recent performance.
  • Quality investing: Emphasizes high-quality companies with strong profitability, stable earnings, and solid balance sheets.
  • Low volatility investing: Seeks to invest in assets with lower volatility and risk, aiming to provide downside protection during market downturns.
  • Dividend yield investing: Targets stocks or assets with attractive dividend yields.
  • Quantitative factor investing: Uses math and data analysis to find factors that can make investment portfolios perform better while managing risks. This strategy looks for patterns in the market, using numbers and formulas to make investment decisions and adjust portfolios to maximize returns.
  • Smart beta strategies: Tries to beat regular stock market indexes by adjusting how they invest based on certain factors like value, momentum, low risk, high dividends, or quality. They use set rules to build portfolios that are different from standard market weights, focusing on these specific factors to potentially improve performance.

How to start with factor investing

For beginners, factor investing offers a structured and systematic approach to investing that can help navigate market uncertainties and improve long-term portfolio performance. Starting with ETFs or Fractional Bonds can provide exposure to multiple factors within a single investment vehicle, simplifying the investment process.

To start factor investing, first determine your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Once you’ve determined your goals, select the factors or combination of factors that align with your objectives and beliefs about market performance. Remember to regularly review your portfolio, monitor factor exposures, and rebalance as needed to maintain your desired factor allocations.

Factor investing at Mintos

At Mintos, we understand the diverse needs of investors, which is why we offer a wide array of fractional investment products designed to cater to all levels of risk tolerance. Whether you’re drawn to loans, Fractional Bonds, or ETFs, we’re here to support your financial journey towards growth and stability.


This is a marketing communication and in no way should be viewed as investment research, advice, or recommendation to invest. The value of your investment can go up as well as down. Past performance of financial instruments does not guarantee future returns. Investing in financial instruments involves risk; before investing, consider your knowledge, experience, financial situation, and investment objectives.


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