Optimal Portfolio Selection Under the Estimation Risk in Mean Return
This thesis investigates robust techniques for mean-variance (MV) portfolio optimization problems under the estimation risk in mean return. We evaluate the performance of the optimal portfolios generated by the min-max robust MV portfolio optimization model. With an ellipsoidal uncertainty set based on the statistics of the sample mean estimates, minmax robust portfolios equal to the ones from the standard MV model based on the nominal mean estimates but with larger risk aversion parameters. With an interval uncertainty set for mean return, min-max robust portfolios can vary significantly with the initial data used to generate the uncertainty set. In addition, by focusing on the worst-case scenario in the mean return uncertainty set, min-max robust portfolios can be too conservative and unable to achieve a high return. Adjusting the conservatism level of min-max robust portfolios can only be achieved by excluding poor mean return scenarios from the uncertainty set, which runs counter to the principle of min-max robustness. We propose a CVaR robust MV portfolio optimization model in which the estimation risk is measured by the Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR). We show that, using CVaR to quantify the estimation risk in mean return, the conservatism level of CVaR robust portfolios can be more naturally adjusted by gradually including better mean return scenarios. Moreover, we compare min-max robust portfolios (with an interval uncertainty set for mean return) and CVaR robust portfolios in terms of actual frontier variation, portfolio efficiency, and portfolio diversification. Finally, a computational method based on a smoothing technique is implemented to solve the optimization problem in the CVaR robust model. We numerically show that, compared with the quadratic programming (QP) approach, the smoothing approach is more computationally efficient for computing CVaR robust portfolios.