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Exploring the drivers of tracking error constrained portfolio performance


  • Wade Gunning
  • Gary van Vuuren


Maximising returns is often the primary goal of asset management but managing and mitigating portfolio risk also plays a significant role. Successful active investing requires outperformance of a benchmark through skillful stock selection and market timing, but these bets necessarily give rise to risk. The risk, relative to the benchmark, is the tracking error and active managers are constrained by investment mandates including a restriction on tracking error. The locus of possible portfolio risks and returns, constrained by a tracking error is elliptical, and the main axis slope’s sign and magnitude varies under different market conditions. How these variations affect portfolio performance is explored for the first time. We find that changes in main axis slope (magnitude and sign) acts as an early indicator of portfolio performance and could therefore be used as another risk management tool.

Suggested Citation

  • Wade Gunning & Gary van Vuuren, 2019. "Exploring the drivers of tracking error constrained portfolio performance," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 1684181-168, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oaefxx:v:7:y:2019:i:1:p:1684181
    DOI: 10.1080/23322039.2019.1684181

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philippe Bertrand, 2009. "Risk-adjusted performance attribution and portfolio optimisations under tracking-error constraints," Post-Print hal-01833079, HAL.
    2. Michael Maxwell & Michael Daly & Daniel Thomson & Gary van Vuuren, 2018. "Optimizing tracking error-constrained portfolios," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(54), pages 5846-5858, November.
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    6. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, September.
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    8. Merton, Robert C., 1972. "An Analytic Derivation of the Efficient Portfolio Frontier," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(4), pages 1851-1872, September.
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