Wed, Nov 26, 2014
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

EDHEC-Risk study finds no theoretical or empirical justification for cap-weighted indices

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Opalesque Industry Update - After the financial crisis and the accompanying falls in the stock markets, many commentators have questioned the appropriateness of tracking cap-weighted indices. These indices are particularly inefficient and, through their momentum properties, favour the emergence of speculative bubbles.

New research from the EDHEC-Risk Institute shows that financial theory, despite widely-held views to the contrary, does not support investment in these types of indices. It is therefore urgent for investors to seek alternatives to these indices which are justified by neither fact nor theory.

The three main conclusions of the research are the following:

1.A cap-weighted stock market index is not the market portfolio of financial theory (the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) theory is often evoked to show that cap-weighted stock market indices are efficient portfolios and attractive investments). That it is not is clear from the choices made in empirical studies that attempt to come up with reasonable proxies for the market portfolio. These studies attach great importance to including many more stocks than indices do, and their proxies of the market portfolio include bonds, real estate, and non-tradable assets such as human capital.

2.Even if it were possible to construct and hold the market portfolio, the theory does not predict that the market portfolio is efficient unless we make highly unrealistic assumptions. In fact, the authors of the seminal academic research in the 1950s and 1960s, Harry Markowitz and William Sharpe, have themselves emphasised (Sharpe (1991) and Markowitz (2005)) that the market portfolio may not be efficient in a more realistic setting.

3.In view of these arguments, financial theory alone does not justify the current practice of cap-weighting. In fact, from a theoretical perspective, cap-weighted stock market indices seem to offer no particular advantage.

The EDHEC-Risk Institute Publication, “Does Finance Theory Make the Case for Capitalisation-Weighted Indexing?” can be downloaded by pressing [Ctrl] and clicking on the following link: Source

- FG

What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing


  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Investing - George Soros puts $500m of his money on Bill Gross, Soros, Paulson backed Hispania Activos mulls Realia takeover, Ex-Credit Suisse trader’s hedge fund sees yen shorts as crowded, Hedge hunters double default-swaps as views split, Large hedge fund positions come under pressure, Vikram Pandit's fund picks 50% stake in JM Financial's realty lending arm for $87m[more]

    George Soros puts $500m of his money on Bill Gross From WSJ.com: Before Bill Gross was fully settled in at his new firm, Janus Capital Group Inc., he received an unlikely visit from the chief investment officer of famed investor George Soros ’s firm, according to a person familiar with t

  2. Legal - Hedge fund manager fights £8m tax tribunal ruling[more]

    From FT.com: A hedge fund manager who may have to repay £8m in tax is trying to overturn a tribunal ruling that found he had attempted to shelter millions in an avoidance scheme. Patrick Degorce, chief investment officer at Theleme Partners, lost a tax tribunal case last year. HM Revenue & Customs c

  3. Europe - Hedge funds face exit tax as Iceland central bank discusses plan[more]

    From Bloomberg.com: Hedge funds and other creditors with claims against Iceland’s failed banks face an exit tax as the island looks for ways to unwind capital controls without hurting the economy. The government targets having a plan it can present by year-end that would map out how Iceland will sca

  4. Opalesque Exclusive: Risk management emerges as a competitive focus area for hedge funds[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Risk management has always been a core component of any trading strategy, as well as a critical part of business management. However, as macreconomic weakness persists, and alpha becomes increasingly hard to generate, risk management as emerged as a more promin

  5. Gross: Inflation is required to pay for prior inflation[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: As inflation rises, every dollar will buy a smaller percentage of a good. While deflation will mean a decrease in the general price level of goods and services. These two economic conditions are both in the waiting room. The consensus would like the former to