A Delegated-Agent Asset-Pricing Model
Posted: 5 Feb 2005
Asset-pricing theory has traditionally made predictions about risk and return but has been silent on the actual process of investment. Today, most investors delegate major investment decisions to financial professionals. 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extreme, when all investment decisions are delegated, the preferences and beliefs of individuals would be completely superseded by the objective functions of agent/managers. A provocative illustration of the difference between direct and delegated investing is provided based on active asset management relative to a benchmark index, a common objective function in practice. 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: Investment Theory, CAPM, APT, and Other Pricing Theories, Portfolio Theory
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