Everyone knows Neil Woodford and his success over the years in the UK from investing in large defensive sectors like tobacco and pharmaceuticals. If you visit the site you can sign up for their blog and insights from his team as part of their marketing efforts if that is of interest to you? See the highlighted links for a couple of recent articles to help you decide.
What has become clear in recent years from research and as demonstrated by Neil Woodford, is that low risk investing can be very profitable and outperform the market. Now some have argued that this just reflects overly large industry bets or a value bias.
I read a write up recently on valuewalk.com about a research paper written by Clifford S. Asness, Andrea Frazzini, and Lasse H. Pedersen titled Low-Risk Investing without Industry Bets. The first chart below which comes from research and the article that I mentioned (see link above which also includes a link to the full research paper) certainly disproves the theory about value bias.
Meanwhile it goes onto prove that the out performance of low risk investing or betting against beta as they call it is not all explained by industry exposures either as they constructed industry neutral portfolios that still out performed. The second chart below shows the results of this testing from the research. If you click on that image you will get another earlier write up on this paper again from Value Walk.
However be aware that the second graphic as far as I can tell is based on going long and short sectors to get the results. But this does suggest that a hedge fund type strategy based on betting against beta could be a profitable one.