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Title: Achieving Robustness to Uncertainty for Financial Decision-making

This report investigates the concept of robustness analysis to support financial decision-making. Financial models, that forecast future stock returns or market conditions, depend on assumptions that might be unwarranted and variables that might exhibit large fluctuations from their last-known values. The analysis of robustness explores these sources of uncertainty, and recommends model settings such that the forecasts used for decision-making are as insensitive as possible to the uncertainty. A proof-of-concept is presented with the Capital Asset Pricing Model. The robustness of model predictions is assessed using info-gap decision theory. Info-gaps are models of uncertainty that express the “distance,” or gap of information, between what is known and what needs to be known in order to support the decision. The analysis yields a description of worst-case stock returns as a function of increasing gaps in our knowledge. The analyst can then decide on the best course of action by trading-off worst-case performance with “risk”, which is how much uncertainty they think needs to be accommodated in the future. The report also discusses the Graphical User Interface, developed using the MATLAB® programming environment, such that the user can control the analysis through an easy-to-navigate interface. Three directions of future work are identifiedmore » to enhance the present software. First, the code should be re-written using the Python scientific programming software. This change will achieve greater cross-platform compatibility, better portability, allow for a more professional appearance, and render it independent from a commercial license, which MATLAB® requires. Second, a capability should be developed to allow users to quickly implement and analyze their own models. This will facilitate application of the software to the evaluation of proprietary financial models. The third enhancement proposed is to add the ability to evaluate multiple models simultaneously. When two models reflect past data with similar accuracy, the more robust of the two is preferable for decision-making because its predictions are, by definition, less sensitive to the uncertainty.« less
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States