Hedging equity risk is so challenging that investors may sell down their equity portfolios or invest in costly risk-mitigation strategies. An optimized portfolio of risk mitigation strategies can improve outcomes.
The key trade-off among equity-risk-mitigation strategies is their expected return versus their ability to diversify equity risk. In particular, the more reliable a strategy’s equity-hedging properties, the lower its expected return, and vice versa. This article proposes a framework for optimal equity-risk-mitigation portfolio construction. In our model, the investor maximizes the portfolio’s unconditional expected return, subject to a constraint on its conditional equity beta. We show that the return to a risk-mitigation portfolio can be decomposed into hedging and return generating components. We then demonstrate that optimal risk-mitigation portfolios exhibit better return-defensiveness properties relative to the underlying strategies.