Level III Review, Monitoring and Rebalancing

Study session 16 in the Level III CFA Program curriculum covers execution of portfolio decisions with two readings (39-40) on monitoring and rebalancing. The material is part of the large Portfolio Management topic area which is worth approximately half of your total test score.
Execution of Portfolio Decisions
Know the basic types of orders (market, limit, participate, portfolio, reserve) and what each means for price, timing, and liquidity.
Understand the basics for the type of markets (crossing networks, auction, dealer, and automated auctions). Don’t confuse electronic crossing networks (automated markets for institutionals that match buy and sell orders at specific times during the day) and Electronic communications Networks (ECN, computer-based auctions that operate throughout the day.
Understand the differences and roles of brokers and dealers. The relationship between the trader and dealer is adversarial while the broker represents the trader. Brokers help to find the opposite side of a trade, can supply market information, provide discretion and secrecy, and can provide other supporting investment services.
The material on transaction costs is the most testable portion of the reading and often shows up on the essay portion. Make sure you can work through an implementation shortfall problem and calculate explicit costs, realized profit/loss, delay costs, and the missed trade opportunity costs.
Be able to calculate the volume-weighted average price and describe differences between the two approaches.
Understand the motivations for each of the different types of traders (informational, value, liquidity, and passive) and what it means for timing and liquidity.
Monitoring and Rebalancing
The material on monitoring is basically understanding the constraints on the IPS and being able to see when an investor’s situation changes materially enough to take action. The curriculum is fairly basic and you should be able to work through it if you’ve spent the time on the individual/institutional management portions.
The rebalancing portion of the reading is the more testable. Understand the costs of rebalancing (transaction costs and taxes) and the two methods for rebalancing, calendar and percentage of portfolio.
Calendar rebalancing is simple and less costly because there is no need for monitoring but it is unrelated to market behavior so costs may outweigh benefits if the portfolio weights have not moved much. The percent-of-portfolio method requires frequent monitoring but has a relatively tighter control on allocations especially in a volatile market.
Understand the effect of transaction costs, risk tolerance, asset correlations, and volatility on the optimal corridor width.
The buy-and-hold, constant mix, and constant proportion portfolio insurance methods are also highly testable and you absolutely must understand the differences and how to calculate affect on the portfolio given different types of markets.
Study session 16 in the Level III CFA Program curriculum concludes the portfolio management topic area with two readings on performance evaluation and attribution.
‘til next time, happy studyin’
Joseph Hogue, CFA


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