(May 18) The Bank for International Settlements shows that in recent years global factor models have been catching up significantly with their local counterparts in terms of explanatory power (R
) for international stock returns. This catch-up is driven by a rise in global factor betas, not a rise in factor volatilities, suggesting that the effect is likely to be permanent. Yet, there is no conclusive evidence for a global factor model catch-up in terms of pricing errors (alpha) or a convergence in country-specific factor premia. These findings suggest that global financial markets have progressed surprisingly little towards fully integrated pricing, different from what should be expected under financial market integration. They discuss alternative explanations for these patterns and assess implications for practice.