Chapter 1. Portfolio Selection

FRANK J. FABOZZI, PhD, CFA, CPA

Professor in the Practice of Finance, Yale School of Management

HARRY M. MARKOWITZ, PhD

Consultant

FRANCIS GUPTA, PhD

Director, Research, Dow Jones Indexes

Abstract: The goal of portfolio selection is the construction of portfolios that maximize expected returns consistent with individually acceptable levels of risk. Using both historical data and investor expectations of future returns, portfolio selection uses modeling techniques to quantify "expected portfolio returns" and "acceptable levels of portfolio risk," and provides methods to select an optimal portfolio. It would not be an overstatement to say that modern portfolio theory has revolutionized the world of investment management. Allowing managers to quantify the investment risk and expected return of a portfolio has provided the scientific and objective complement to the subjective art of investment management. More importantly, whereas at one time the focus of portfolio management used to be the risk of individual assets, the theory of portfolio selection has shifted the focus to the risk of the entire portfolio. This theory shows that it is possible to combine risky assets and produce a portfolio whose expected return reflects its components, but with considerably lower risk. In other words, it is possible to construct a portfolio whose risk is smaller than the sum of all its individual parts.

Keywords: portfolio selection, modern portfolio theory, mean-variance ...

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