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Title: Robust optimisation and its application to portfolio planning
Authors: Gregory, Christine
Advisors: Darby-Dowman, K
Mitra, G
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Brunel University
Abstract: Decision making under uncertainty presents major challenges from both modelling and solution methods perspectives. The need for stochastic optimisation methods is widely recognised; however, compromises typically have to be made in order to develop computationally tractable models. Robust optimisation is a practical alternative to stochastic optimisation approaches, particularly suited for problems in which parameter values are unknown and variable. In this thesis, we review robust optimisation, in which parameter uncertainty is defined by budgeted polyhedral uncertainty sets as opposed to ellipsoidal sets, and consider its application to portfolio selection. The modelling of parameter uncertainty within a robust optimisation framework, in terms of structure and scale, and the use of uncertainty sets is examined in detail. We investigate the effect of different definitions of the bounds on the uncertainty sets. An interpretation of the robust counterpart from a min-max perspective, as applied to portfolio selection, is given. We propose an extension of the robust portfolio selection model, which includes a buy-in threshold and an upper limit on cardinality. We investigate the application of robust optimisation to portfolio selection through an extensive empirical investigation of cost, robustness and performance with respect to risk-adjusted return measures and worst case portfolio returns. We present new insights into modelling uncertainty and the properties of robust optimal decisions and model parameters. Our experimental results, in the application of portfolio selection, show that robust solutions come at a cost, but in exchange for a guaranteed probability of optimality on the objective function value, significantly greater achieved robustness, and generally better realisations under worst case scenarios.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Mathematical Science
Dept of Mathematics Theses

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