In this course, you will gain an understanding of the theory underlying optimal portfolio construction, the different ways portfolios are actually built in practice and how to measure and manage the risk of such portfolios.
You will start by studying how imperfect correlation between assets leads to diversified and optimal portfolios as well as the consequences in terms of asset pricing. Then, you will learn how to shape an investor's profile and build an adequate portfolio by combining strategic and tactical asset allocations. Finally, you will have a more in-depth look at risk: its different facets and the appropriate tools and techniques to measure it, manage it and hedge it.
Key speakers from UBS, our corporate partner, will regularly add a practical perspective on these different topics as you progress through the course.
General Introduction and Key Concepts
In this introductory week, you will first be presented with a few mistakes you will no longer make after following this course. In order to avoid making these mistakes, you will start by gaining a foundation and understanding of the three main types of information we need in order to build optimal portfolios: expected returns, risk and dependence.
Modern Portfolio Theory and Beyond
The focus of this second week is on Modern Portfolio Theory. By understanding how imperfect correlations between asset returns can lead to superior risk-adjusted portfolio returns, we will soon be looking for ways to maximize the effect of diversification, which is at the heart of Modern Portfolio Theory. But we won’t stop there: we will also explore the implications of Modern Portfolio Theory on real-world investment decisions and whether or not these implications are followed by investors. Finally, we will see how Modern Portfolio Theory can be built upon to derive the most popular asset pricing model: the Capital Asset Pricing Model.
This third week is dedicated to asset allocation. After a short introduction to investor profiling, we will delve into Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA). You will see how it relates to Modern Portfolio Theory and how it differs from Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA). We will look at how both asset allocations can be implemented separately but also in conjunction in order to build portfolios that fulfill investors’ needs and constraints while taking advantage of market opportunities.
This fourth and final week is dedicated to risk. We will start by looking in more depth at different sources of risk such as illiquidity and currency risk but also at the different tools available to investors to perform risk management. But how should we measure risk? We will see that it may be valuable to go a step beyond standard deviation, the risk measure we used so far, and look at the Value-at-Risk and Expected Shortfall which focus on potential large losses. Finally, we will use the financial instruments at our disposal to hedge market and currency risk.
Jonas Demaurex, Ines Chaieb, Tony Berrada, Michel Girardin, Olivier Scaillet and Rajna Brandon Gibson