A Delegated Agent Asset-Pricing Model

UCLA Finance Working Paper

29 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2004

See all articles by Bradford Cornell

Bradford Cornell

Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA

Richard Roll

California Institute of Technology

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2004


Asset pricing theory has traditionally made predictions about risk and return but has been silent on the actual process of investment. Many, if not most investors, delegate major investment decisions to professionals, to investment managers and financial advisors. This suggests that the instructions given by investors to their delegated agents and the compensation of those agents might be important determinants of capital market equilibrium. In the extreme when all investment decisions are delegated, the preferences and beliefs of individuals would be completely superseded by the objective functions of agent/managers. Agency theory holds that such objective functions cannot be isomorphic to principals' preferences and beliefs, which suggests that asset pricing could differ fundamentally from that predicted by existing theory. A provocative illustration of the difference is provided in this paper based on active asset management relative to a benchmark index, a common objective function in practice but with no grounding in traditional theory. With the growing preponderance of delegated investing, future asset pricing theory will not only have to describe risk and return but, to be complete, must also be able to explain the observed objective functions used by professional managers.

Keywords: Asset pricing

JEL Classification: G12

Suggested Citation

Cornell, Bradford and Roll, Richard W., A Delegated Agent Asset-Pricing Model (August 1, 2004). UCLA Finance Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=502943 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.502943

Bradford Cornell (Contact Author)

Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626 833-9978 (Phone)

Richard W. Roll

California Institute of Technology ( email )

1200 East California Blvd
Mail Code: 228-77
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-3890 (Phone)
310-836-3532 (Fax)

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