When an investor is faced with a portfolio choice problem, the number of possible assets and the various combinations and proportions in which each can be held can seem overwhelming. In this course, you’ll learn the basic principles underlying optimal portfolio construction, diversification, and risk management. You’ll start by acquiring the tools to characterize an investor’s risk and return trade-off. You will next analyze how a portfolio choice problem can be structured and learn how to solve for and implement the optimal portfolio solution. Finally, you will learn about the main pricing models for equilibrium asset prices.
Learners will:
• Develop risk and return measures for portfolio of assets
• Understand the main insights from modern portfolio theory based on diversification
• Describe and identify efficient portfolios that manage risk effectively
• Solve for portfolio with the best risk-return trade-offs
• Understand how risk preference drive optimal asset allocation decisions
• Describe and use equilibrium asset pricing models.

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Module 2: Portfolio construction and diversification

In this module, we build on the tools from the previous module to develop measure of portfolio risk and return. We define and distinguish between the different sources of risk and discuss the concept of diversification: how and why putting risky assets together in a portfolio eliminates risk that yields a portfolio with less risk than its components. Finally, we review the quantitative tools that help us identify the ‘best’ portfolios with the least risk for a given level of expected return by considering a numerical example using international equity data.