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Robust Portfolio Optimization with VaR Adjusted Sharpe Ratio

Published in the Journal of Asset Management, 14(5):293-305, 2013.


We propose a robust portfolio optimization approach based on Value-at-Risk (VaR) adjusted Sharpe ratios. Traditional Sharpe ratio estimates using a limited series of historical returns are subject to estimation errors. Portfolio optimization based on traditional Sharpe ratios ignores this uncertainty and, as a result, is not robust. In this paper, we propose a robust portfolio optimization model that selects the portfolio with the largest worse-case-scenario Sharpe ratio within a given con fidence interval. We show that this framework is equivalent to maximizing the Sharpe ratio reduced by a quantity proportional to the standard deviation in the Sharpe ratio estimator. We highlight the relationship between the VaR-adjusted Sharpe ratios and other modifi ed Sharpe ratios proposed in the literature. In addition, we present both numerical and empirical results comparing optimal portfolios generated by the approach advocated here with those generated by both the traditional and the alternative optimization approaches.

By Geng Deng, Tim Dulaney, Craig McCann, and Olivia Wang

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Craig J. McCann