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Francesco Cesarone, Jacopo Moretti and Fabio Tardella
''Optimally chosen small portfolios are better than large ones''
( 2016, Vol. 36 No.4 )
One of the fundamental principles in portfolio selection models is minimization of risk through diversification of the investment. However, this principle does not necessarily translate into a request for investing in all the assets of the investment universe. Indeed, following a line of research started by Evans and Archer almost fifty years ago, we provide here further evidence that small portfolios are sufficient to achieve almost optimal in-sample risk reduction with respect to variance and to some other popular risk measures, and very good out-of-sample performances. While leading to similar results, our approach is significantly different from the classical one pioneered by Evans and Archer. Indeed, we describe models for choosing the portfolio of a prescribed size with the smallest possible risk, as opposed to the random portfolio choice investigated in most of the previous works. We find that the smallest risk portfolios generally require no more than 15 assets. Furthermore, it is almost always possible to find portfolios that are just 1% more risky than the smallest risk portfolios and contain no more than 10 assets. Furthermore, the optimal small portfolios generally show a better performance than the optimal large ones. Our empirical analysis is based on some new and on some publicly available benchmark data sets often used in the literature.
Keywords: Asset Management, Risk Diversification, Size Constraints, Small Portfolios
JEL: G1 - (G11, G13, G13) Portfolios, Investments, Asset and Futures Pricing, Trading Volume & Bond Interest Rates
C6 - Mathematical Methods and Programming: General
Manuscript Received : Oct 03 2016 Manuscript Accepted : Oct 05 2016

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