As we have mentioned several times, the best course of action for a quant analyst who wants to develop a new trading strategy is to understand a well-known investment anomaly/factor fundamentally and then improve it. Quantpedia is a big fan of transferring ideas derived from academic research from one asset class to another. But that’s not the only possibility of improvement – we can try to embrace Roger Ibbotson’s theory of popularity, which states that popular assets/securities are usually overpriced compared to less-known (exotic) assets/securities. Additionally, more professional investors usually follow popular assets, and this market segment is probably significantly more efficient.
So, we went in this direction. We took a well-known commodity momentum factor strategy and investigated its performance among commodity futures that were part of the S&P GSCI respectively BCOM commodity indexes and then compared the strategy’s performance with a variant that traded only non-indexed commodity futures. As we had expected, the trading strategy using exotic assets performed significantly better.