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Forecasting in Venn
Alexa Catalano avatar
Written by Alexa Catalano
Updated over a week ago

Rev. Date January 12, 2023


What is a factor forecast?

A factor forecast reflects a view on the return for factors that is intended to be realized over a long investment horizon, such as 3+ years. As explained further below, you can use the historical geometric return forecasts provided by Venn or create custom forecasts using either your Capital Market Assumptions or a historical period in time.

What is the forecast volatility?

Venn calculates the annualized volatility using each factor’s returns over its full return history.

Where are forecasts used in Venn?

Forecasts are used throughout Venn. In particular, forecasts are a key input into Optimization[1] and the forecast metrics displayed in the Performance Summary section of various analyses.

How can I access the Factor Forecasts modal?

You can view and update the current forecast settings by clicking the compass icon at the top right corner of an Analysis page or Portfolio Lab, or by navigating to Workspace Configuration and clicking on the "Manage Forecasts" button under the Forecasts section.

How do forecasts affect Optimization?

Forecasts are fundamental to Optimization. Custom forecasts that reflect your future performance views on factors can help generate optimization results that are aligned with your organization’s views, while incorporating your specified objectives and constraints.

Default Forecasts

What are the Historical default forecasts?

Venn provides default return forecasts for each factor. The default forecasts are the geometric average calculated using the full period of historical returns available on Venn for each factor. These values tend to be relatively consistent over the long term.

Venn also provides a default return value for the risk-free rate using the average 3 month sovereign benchmark yield in the investor’s home currency over the last month.

By default, the forecasted metrics look at the exposure of the subject being analyzed to the Venn factors over the last 3 years (or at least the last 12 months, depending on data availability and frequency).

Are the Historical default forecasts Two Sigma’s views of the future?

No. Importantly, the default forecasts do not represent Two Sigma’s views of the future. Rather, they are intended to provide a potential starting point for users to formulate their own forecasts.

How often are the Historical default forecasts populated?

Historical default forecasts are continuously updated with the latest available returns.

Creating Custom Forecasts

How can I change the forecasts to something other than the Historical forecasts? 

You can create your own factor return forecasts by navigating to the “Manage Forecasts” section of the Factor Forecasts panel and selecting either “Create New Historical” or “Create New CMA”.

  • For a Historical Forecast, give your Forecast a name and then select a time period that you would like your forecast to mirror. Venn will use this period to create a forecast of the geometric average returns and annualized volatility for each factor over the selected time period. Additionally, the factor correlations for the forecast will be calculated from the correlations between the factors over this time period.

  • For a CMA Forecast, give your Forecast a name and then enter your organization's Capital Market Assumptions for major asset classes. Select from various indices and assign geometric annualized expected return values to each. Venn will translate these views into forecasts for the factors in the Two Sigma Factor Lens. For best results, Venn suggests entering Capital Market Assumptions for at least 3 indices.

Once you are done entering your time period or Capital Market Assumptions, click the “Apply” button at the bottom of the modal.

In addition to customizing the forecasts on Venn’s factors, Venn also allows customization of the exposure period of the subject being analyzed to the Venn factors. By default, the exposure period is the last 3 years (or at least the last 12 months, depending on data availability and frequency). However, users may adjust this to a different relative period, or the period between two specified dates.

How do I save my forecasts?

Any time you create or update a forecast, it will be saved and serve as the new default view to all members of your organization.

Will I be notified if someone at my organization changes the forecasts?

You will not be notified if someone changes your organization’s forecasts, but can view your previously saved Forecasts and switch back if applicable.

Custom CMA Forecasts

How does Venn translate my Capital Market Assumptions into factor return forecasts?

​Venn first determines each of your selected index’s factor exposures over the past 3 years as well as their annualized residual return. Venn then computes the expected annualized factor returns by assuring the equivalence between:

  1. The annualized expected returns you specified for each index - and -

  2. The specific index residual returns plus the sum of the factor exposures

Here’s an illustrative example: say you had a return expectation of 10% for Global Equity markets, as proxied by the MSCI World index. Venn determines that the MSCI World index has two statistically significant factor exposures of +0.9 to the Equity factor and +0.3 to the Foreign Currency factor with a residual term of 1%. Venn will then seek to minimize the sum of the difference between x and Equity factor’s historical average and the difference between y and Foreign Currency factor’s historical average, on condition that 10% equals 1% + (0.9*x) + (0.3*y), where x is the expected return for Equity factor and y is the expected return for Foreign Currency factor based on your return expectation.

Will my Capital Market Assumptions translate to return forecasts for all of the factors in the Two Sigma Factor Lens?

Given the indices currently available in the Forecasts modal, your Capital Market Assumptions will not translate to all of the factors in the Two Sigma Factor Lens. To translate to a broad array of factor return forecasts, you will need to provide Capital Market Assumptions for a variety of indices that have statistically significant exposures to different factors, but it would be impossible to do so for each and every factor. In the illustrative example above, inputting a Capital Market Assumption for only Global Equity will likely not provide insight into your organization’s views on factors such as Local Inflation or Quality. Venn will use the Historical forecasts for factors that are not covered by your Capital Market Assumptions.

Do my Capital Market Assumptions impact forecast volatility?

No, your Capital Market Assumptions are used for return forecasts only. Other calculations, such as forecast volatility, will be based on the default Historical factor forecasts provided by Venn.

Custom Historical Forecasts

What happens if my historical forecast period is less than a year?

If the selected period for your historical forecast is less than a year, the return and volatility will be annualized from this period. Factor correlations for this forecast will be calculated from the correlation between the factor returns during the selected period.

What happens if my historical forecast is from a period before a factor exists?

In this case, the return and volatility for any factor that does not have returns in the period of the forecast would be set to zero. These factors will also have zero correlation to the other factors in the forecast.

Investment Forecasts

Venn allows users to override the forecasted total return or forecasted residual return for any individual investment. The overrides are mutually exclusive, and only one can be selected at a time.

How do I override an Investment forecast total return?

You can override an investment’s total return forecast by navigating to the Forecasts modal and clicking on the “Investment Forecasts” tab. In the “Add New Investment Forecast Override" section, search for and select the investment that you wish to enter an override for. Select the "Total Return Override" option and enter in the forecasted investment total return value you wish to override the default with. Note that the residual return forecast and investment total return overrides are mutually exclusive, so only one can be overridden per investment. If the total return forecast is overridden for an investment, Venn will automatically compute the implied forecast residual for that investment, and vice versa.

How do I override a residual forecast?

You can override the forecasted residual return for an investment by following the same steps as the total return forecast override, but by selecting the “Residual Override” option instead.

If you prefer to ignore the residual component of the investments’ forecast returns and only take into consideration the impact of factor forecasts, you can turn on the “Set Residual Forecast to 0%” toggle in the Investment Forecast tab of the forecasts modal. Turning this toggle on will set the residual forecast returns of all investments in the workspace to "0%". Note that any existing investment forecast overrides set by members of your workspace will not be set to zero. You and other members of your workspace may also continue to add new overrides even after this setting is enabled, and the new overrides will supersede the 0% setting. You can disable this setting at any time by turning the toggle off. Any investment overrides added will not be affected by this setting being enabled or disabled.

What determines an investment’s default or unmodified residual forecast?

An investment’s default, unmodified, residual forecast is determined by its most recent residual period (either last 3 years or last 12 months, depending on data availability and frequency).

Factor Forecasts​

How do I override a Factor forecast?

You can override the forecast return of a factor forecast by navigating to the Forecasts modal. Within the Factor Forecast tab, the “Venn Default Forecast” will be selected and show the default return and volatility for each factor on the right side panel. If you select a custom created period from the Forecast List, you can then override each specific forecasted factor return by clicking on the edit icon that appears when hovering over a factor. Click the “Apply” button to save changes. If you wish to revert back to the “Venn Default Forecast” list, simply select it from the Forecast List dropdown.

Please note that Investment return overrides will supersede factor forecast overrides.

As noted above, any time you create or update a forecast it will be saved and serve as the new default view accessible to all members of your organization. You can view your previously saved Forecasts and switch back if applicable.

[1] Please note, this feature is only available in certain jurisdictions. 

This document highlights certain aspects of this feature. As an overview, it does not discuss all material facts or assumptions. Please see Important Disclosure and Disclaimer Information.

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