Machine Learning and the Implementable Efficient Frontier
70 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2022 Last revised: 19 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 10, 2022
We propose that investment strategies should be evaluated based on their net-of-trading-cost return for each level of risk, which we term the "implementable efficient frontier." While numerous studies use machine learning return forecasts to generate portfolios, their agnosticism toward trading costs leads to excessive reliance on fleeting small-scale characteristics, resulting in poor net returns. We develop a framework that produces a superior frontier by integrating trading-cost-aware portfolio optimization with machine learning. The superior net-of-cost performance is achieved by learning directly about portfolio weights using an economic objective. Further, our model gives rise to a new measure of "economic feature importance."
Keywords: asset pricing, machine learning, transaction costs, economic significance, investments
JEL Classification: C5, C61, G00, G11, G12
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