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Exact and heuristic approaches for the index tracking problem with UCITS constraints

Listed author(s):
  • Andrea Scozzari


  • Fabio Tardella


  • Sandra Paterlini


  • Thiemo Krink


Index tracking aims at determining an optimal portfolio that replicates the performance of an index or benchmark by investing in a smaller number of constituents or assets. The tracking portfolio should be cheap to maintain and update, i.e., invest in a smaller number of constituents than the index, have low turnover and low transaction costs, and should avoid large positions in few assets, as required by the European Union Directive UCITS (Under-taking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities) rules. The UCITS rules make the problem hard to be satisfactorily modeled and solved to optimality: no exact methods but only heuristics have been proposed so far. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we present the first Mixed Integer Quadratic Programming (MIQP) formulation for the constrained index tracking problem with the UCITS rules compliance. This allows us to obtain exact solutions for small- and medium-size problems based on real-world datasets. Second, we compare these solutions with the ones provided by the state-of-art heuristic Differential Evolution and Combinatorial Search for Index Tracking (DECS-IT), obtaining information about the heuristic performance and its reliability for the solution of large-size problems that cannot be solved with the exact approach. Empirical results show that DECS-IT is indeed appropriate to tackle the index tracking problem in such cases. Furthermore, we propose a method that combines the good characteristics of the exact and of the heuristic approaches.

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Paper provided by University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi" in its series Center for Economic Research (RECent) with number 081.

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Length: pages 20
Date of creation: May 2012
Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:081
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  1. Diana Barro & Elio Canestrelli, 2009. "Tracking error: a multistage portfolio model," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 47-66, January.
  2. Beasley, J. E. & Meade, N. & Chang, T. -J., 2003. "An evolutionary heuristic for the index tracking problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 621-643, August.
  3. Canakgoz, N.A. & Beasley, J.E., 2009. "Mixed-integer programming approaches for index tracking and enhanced indexation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(1), pages 384-399, July.
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