Portfolio optimization by minimizing conditional value-at-risk via nondifferentiable optimization
Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) is a portfolio evaluation function having appealing features such as sub-additivity and convexity. Although the CVaR function is nondifferentiable, scenario-based CVaR minimization problems can be reformulated as linear programs (LPs) that afford solutions via widely-used commercial softwares. However, finding solutions through LP formulations for problems having many financial instruments and a large number of price scenarios can be time-consuming as the dimension of the problem greatly increases. In this paper, we propose a two-phase approach that is suitable for solving CVaR minimization problems having a large number of price scenarios. In the first phase, conventional differentiable optimization techniques are used while circumventing nondifferentiable points, and in the second phase, we employ a theoretically convergent, variable target value nondifferentiable optimization technique. The resultant two-phase procedure guarantees infinite convergence to optimality. As an optional third phase, we additionally perform a switchover to a simplex solver starting with a crash basis obtained from the second phase when finite convergence to an exact optimum is desired. This three phase procedure substantially reduces the effort required in comparison with the direct use of a commercial stand-alone simplex solver (CPLEX 9.0). Moreover, the two-phase method provides highly-accurate near-optimal solutions with a significantly improved performance over the interior point barrier implementation of CPLEX 9.0 as well, especially when the number of scenarios is large. We also provide some benchmarking results on using an alternative popular proximal bundle nondifferentiable optimization technique.
KeywordsPortfolio optimization CVaR Nondifferentiable optimization
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