Reconstructing the Black-Litterman Model

18 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2013 Last revised: 29 Nov 2014

Jay Walters, CFA

Boston University - Metropolitan College - Department of Computer Science

Date Written: November 20, 2014


During the past 20 years several urban legends about the Black-Litterman model have appeared in the literature. These urban legends lie in wait for authors who do not consider the canon of Black-Litterman literature written by the primary authors of the model.

Generally these urban legends were created when authors attempted to simplify the model or introduce extensions to the model which they felt were more tractable than the canonical model. At times other authors have used these urban legends attempting to convince investors that the Black-Litterman model does not have a rigorous theoretical basis and should not be used.

In this paper we will provide a short review of the Black-Litterman model as provided by the original authors of the model. We will then provide a taxonomy/literature survey over several important papers in the Black-Litterman literature. Finally we will address the urban legends in detail.

Keywords: portfolio optimization, asset allocation, Black-Litterman, Bayesian theory, market equilibrium portfolio, computational finance

JEL Classification: C11, G11

Suggested Citation

Walters, CFA, Jay, Reconstructing the Black-Litterman Model (November 20, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Jay Walters (Contact Author)

Boston University - Metropolitan College - Department of Computer Science ( email )

United States

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