Portfolio performance under tracking error and benchmark volatility constraints
Keywords:Tracking error, Portfolio performance optimisation, Active management
Purpose. Using a portfolio comprising liquid global stocks and bonds, this study aims to limit absolute risk to that of a standardised benchmark and determine whether this has a significant impact on expected return in both high volatility period (HV) and low volatility period (LV).
Design/methodology/approach. Using a traditional benchmark comprising 40% equity and 60% bonds, a constant tracking error (TE) frontier was constructed and implemented. Portfolio performance for different TE constraints and different economic periods (expansion and contraction) was explored.
Findings. Results indicate that during HV, replicating benchmark portfolio risk produces portfolios that outperform both the maximum return (MR) portfolio and the benchmark. MR portfolios outperform those with the same risk as that of the benchmark in LV. The MR portfolio weights assets to obtain the highest return on the TE frontier. During HV, the benchmark replicated risk portfolio obtained a higher absolute risk value than that of the MR portfolio because of an inefficient benchmark. In HV, the benchmark replicated risk portfolio favoured intermediate maturity treasury bills.
Originality/value. There is a dearth of literature exploring the performance of active portfolios subject to TE constraints. This work addresses this gap and demonstrates, for the first time, the relative portfolio performance of several standard portfolio choices on the frontier.
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