IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Scozzari & Fabio Tardella & Sandra Paterlini & Thiemo Krink, 2012. "Exact and heuristic approaches for the index tracking problem with UCITS constraints," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 081, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:081

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andriosopoulos, Kostas & Doumpos, Michael & Papapostolou, Nikos C. & Pouliasis, Panos K., 2013. "Portfolio optimization and index tracking for the shipping stock and freight markets using evolutionary algorithms," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 16-34.
    2. Renato Bruni & Francesco Cesarone & Andrea Scozzari & Fabio Tardella, 2013. "No arbitrage and a linear portfolio selection model," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1247-1258.
    3. Renato Bruni & Francesco Cesarone & Andrea Scozzari & Fabio Tardella, 2012. "A new stochastic dominance approach to enhanced index tracking problems," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3460-3470.
    4. Renato Bruni & Francesco Cesarone & Andrea Scozzari & Fabio Tardella, 2012. "A New Lp Model For Enhanced Indexation," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0168, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.

    More about this item


    Index tracking; mixed integer quadratic programming; stochastic search heuristics; differential evolution; cardinality constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:mod:recent:081. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.