IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/chf/rpseri/rp0833.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Look-Ahead Benchmark Biasin Portfolio Performance Evaluation

Author

Listed:
  • Gilles DANIEL

    (ETH Zürich)

  • Didier SORNETTE

    (ETZ Zürich and Swiss Finance Institute)

  • Peter WOHRMANN

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

Performance of investment managers are evaluated in comparison with benchmarks, such as financial indices. Due to the operational constraint that most professional databases do not track the change of constitution of benchmark portfolios, standard tests of performance suffer from the “look-ahead benchmark bias,” when they use the assets constituting the benchmarks of reference at the end of the testing period, rather than at the beginning of the period. Here, we report that the “look-ahead benchmark bias” can exhibit a surprisingly large amplitude for portfolios of common stocks (up to 8% annum for the S&P500 taken as the benchmark) – while most studies have emphasized related survival biases in performance of mutual and hedge funds for which the biases can be expected to be even larger. We use the CRSP database from 1926 to 2006 and analyze the running top 500 US capitalizations to demonstrate that this bias can account for a gross overestimation of performance metrics such as the Sharpe ratio as well as an underestimation of risk, as measured for instance by peak-to-valley drawdowns. We demonstrate the presence of a significant bias in the estimation of the survival and look-ahead biases studied in the literature. A general methodology to test the properties of investment strategies is advanced in terms of random strategies with similar investment constraints.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles DANIEL & Didier SORNETTE & Peter WOHRMANN, "undated". "Look-Ahead Benchmark Biasin Portfolio Performance Evaluation," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 08-33, Swiss Finance Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp0833
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1289222
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Campbell, John Y. & Chan, Yeung Lewis & Viceira, Luis M., 2003. "A multivariate model of strategic asset allocation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 41-80, January.
    2. Michel Normandin & Pascal St-Amour, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of U.S. Aggregate Portfolio Allocations," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 05.03, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    survival bias; look-ahead bias; portfolio optimization; benchmark; investment strategies;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp0833. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marilyn Barja). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/chfeech.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.