This research note was originally published by the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor blog. Here is the link. Smart beta may be the best marketing concept ever invented in finance. Buying something labeled “smart beta” makes you intuitively feel both smart and good about the investment. But if smart beta is the best investment product label ever, low volatility is a strong contender for second place. It isn’t hard to see why. After the global financial crisis, risk was front of mind for investors, so buying stocks with lower volatility, perhaps even bond-like characteristics, had obvious appeal.