Horses for Courses: Mean-Variance for Asset Allocation and 1/N for Stock Selection
38 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019
Date Written: May 14, 2019
For various organizational reasons, large investors typically split their portfolio decision into two stages - asset allocation and stock selection. We hypothesise that mean-variance models are superior to equal weighting for asset allocation, while the reverse applies for stock selection, as estimation errors are less of a problem for mean-variance models when used for asset allocation than for stock selection. We confirm this hypothesis in separate analyses of US and international equities using four different types of mean-variance model (Bayes-Stein, Black-Litterman, Bayesian diffuse prior and Markowitz), a range of parameter settings, and a simulation analysis calibrated to US data.
Keywords: Asset allocation, stock selection, mean-variance, naive diversification, portfolio theory
JEL Classification: G11, G12
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