Zhiwei Ren

Managing Director, Portfolio Manager
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Zhiwei Ren

Mr. Ren serves a Managing Director & Portfolio Manager where he leads the Quantitative Research and Derivative Hedging group.

Prior to joining The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company in 2011, where his prior experience includes quantitative research and derivative hedging,

Mr. Ren worked in various investment roles at Genworth Financial, including Director of Quantitative Research for three years. Mr. Ren also held the position of Investment Managing Consultant for two years at Aflac.

Mr. Ren graduated in 1996 from Wuhan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computational Mathematics. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Florida State University in 2003 and a Master of Science degree in Financial Mathematics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2005.

Zhiwei has been a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder since 2009.

Stories by Zhiwei Ren

Fade the Metal Rally

By Zhiwei Ren | October 5, 2017

In the last two years, there has been an impressive rally in industrial metals. From the lows during early 2016 until today, copper is up 50%, zinc is up 100%, aluminum is up 50%, and lithium is up 120%. When industrial metals rallied, stocks in the metal and mining sector rallied sharply as well.

Benign Economic Environment, Low Market Volatility

By Zhiwei Ren | August 10, 2017

Low volatility has been the hallmark for this year’s market. We have seen the lowest level on record for the volatility index (VIX) and the lowest realized volatility in the S&P 500 Index. The reason we have such low volatility in the market is clear: The macro environment is very benign and investors know it.

Muted Wage Growth, Quantitative Investment

By Zhiwei Ren | June 15, 2017

There are many differences between the current business cycle and a typical cycle. One notable difference is the muted wage growth after years of strong job growth. In the chart… Read More

Quiet but Risky Market for Investors as Low Volatility Persists

By Zhiwei Ren | April 20, 2017

The equity market has been very quiet so far in 2017. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 has posted a daily decline greater than 1% only once (on March 21), and the realized volatility for S&P 500 has reached the lowest point in the last 50 years.

The backdrop for the low volatility is widely recognized: the U.S. economy is growing a little above trend, a new pro-growth president was elected, inflation is rising but still remains low, the risk for a hard landing in China is lower, Europe and Japan are growing at the fastest pace post-crisis, and most importantly, low inflation allows the Federal Reserve (Fed) to intervene whenever we have some volatility in the market.

Political Uncertainties and Resilient Markets

By Zhiwei Ren | February 23, 2017

The first two months of 2016 were challenging times. Global risk assets, especially commodities, were in a free fall and the market was pricing in a global recession and possible hard landing in China. Compared to 2016, the 2017 financial market is having a great start, with all major risk assets performing well year-to-date. The S&P 500 Index has not seen a 1% drop in over 90 trading days, and 3-month realized volatility has not been this low since 1995.

Peak Globalization and the Rise of Political Populism

By Zhiwei Ren | December 22, 2016

This week’s chart shows the history of global trades as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). In the last few years, global trade has stagnated. Now, with political populism gaining ground in major countries, it is likely globalization has peaked at this cycle, which will effect asset pricing and the broader economy.

Market Breadth Deteriorating, Inflation Pressure Building

By Zhiwei Ren | October 20, 2016

A New York Times article about how Walmart is getting better results by paying employees more recently caught my attention. Walmart has 1.4 million employees in U.S., and this strategy change will have ripple effects on labor market. In the past few months, we have seen several signs that some long-term trends are changing

Elevated Duration Risk

By Zhiwei Ren | September 22, 2016

In the most recent issue of The Economist, several articles were written about the rise of superstar corporations. These are companies such as GE, Amazon, Google, Apple, that dominate the… Read More

Is the Success of Monetary Policy Good for Investors?

By Zhiwei Ren | August 18, 2016

If the original goal of monetary easing was to stimulate growth and inflation, we can say it has failed. The question is: Do investors want the central banks to succeed eventually?

Record High Equity, Record Low Yield

By Zhiwei Ren | July 21, 2016

U.S. equities are trading at record highs, while interest rates are close to record lows. This week’s chart shows the long bull market in bonds over the last 40 years, as well as the rare combination of record high equity with record low interest rates we are currently observing.