Financial Concepts: The Optimal Portfolio
AAA
  1. Financial Concepts: Introduction
  2. Financial Concepts: The Risk/Return Tradeoff
  3. Financial Concepts: Diversification
  4. Financial Concepts: Dollar Cost Averaging
  5. Financial Concepts: Asset Allocation
  6. Financial Concepts: Random Walk Theory
  7. Financial Concepts: Efficient Market Hypothesis
  8. Financial Concepts: The Optimal Portfolio
  9. Financial Concepts: Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
  10. Financial Concepts: Conclusion

Financial Concepts: The Optimal Portfolio


The optimal portfolio concept falls under the modern portfolio theory. The theory assumes (among other things) that investors fanatically try to minimize risk while striving for the highest return possible. The theory states that investors will act rationally, always making decisions aimed at maximizing their return for their acceptable level of risk.

The optimal portfolio was used in 1952 by Harry Markowitz, and it shows us that it is possible for different portfolios to have varying levels of risk and return. Each investor must decide how much risk they can handle and than allocate (or diversify) their portfolio according to this decision.

The chart below illustrates how the optimal portfolio works. The optimal-risk portfolio is usually determined to be somewhere in the middle of the curve because as you go higher up the curve, you take on proportionately more risk for a lower incremental return. On the other end, low risk/low return portfolios are pointless because you can achieve a similar return by investing in risk-free assets, like government securities.


You can choose how much volatility you are willing to bear in your portfolio by picking any other point that falls on the efficient frontier. This will give you the maximum return for the amount of risk you wish to accept. Optimizing your portfolio is not something you can calculate in your head. There are computer programs that are dedicated to determining optimal portfolios by estimating hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of different expected returns for each given amount of risk. Financial Concepts: Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

  1. Financial Concepts: Introduction
  2. Financial Concepts: The Risk/Return Tradeoff
  3. Financial Concepts: Diversification
  4. Financial Concepts: Dollar Cost Averaging
  5. Financial Concepts: Asset Allocation
  6. Financial Concepts: Random Walk Theory
  7. Financial Concepts: Efficient Market Hypothesis
  8. Financial Concepts: The Optimal Portfolio
  9. Financial Concepts: Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
  10. Financial Concepts: Conclusion
RELATED TERMS
  1. Strike Width

    The difference between the strike price of an option and the ...
  2. Systematic Manager

    A manager who adjusts a portfolio’s long and short-term positions ...
  3. Inverse Transaction

    A transaction that can cancel out a forward contract that has ...
  4. Unconstrained Investing

    An investment style that does not require a fund or portfolio ...
  5. Reference Equity

    The underlying equity that an investor is seeking price movement ...
  6. Precedent Transaction Analysis

    A valuation method in which the prices paid for similar companies ...
  1. What Book Value Of Equity Per Share (BVPS) ratio indicates a buy signal?

    Find out more about book value of equity per share, what BVPS measures and how to determine what level of BVPS indicates ...
  2. What is the effective interest method of amortization?

    Find out more about the effective interest rate method and how the effective interest method is used to amortize a discounted ...
  3. Is there a way to include intangible assets in book-to-market ratio calculations?

    Find out more about the book-to-market ratio and how to calculate a public company's book-to-market ratio including its intangible ...
  4. What risks should I consider taking a short put position?

    Learn what risks to consider before taking a short put position. Shorting puts is a great strategy to earn income in certain ...

You May Also Like

Related Tutorials
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    Ethical Investing Tutorial

  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Investing For Safety and Income Tutorial

  3. Economics

    American Depositary Receipt Basics

  4. Economics

    Macroeconomics

  5. Investing Basics

    Capital Budgeting

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!