This course applies financial theory to the issues and problems of asset management. In order to understand these issues, we must start with the specific goals, characteristics, and considerations of the asset owner. Asset owners may be individuals (e.g. personal wealth), collective owners (e.g. families or pension funds), charitable endowments and foundations (e.g. Columbia University), corporations, and nations (e.g. sovereign wealth funds). We characterize the properties of asset returns and the nature of various investment strategies to assess how asset management can meet the specific investment goals of asset owners. Asset owners usually delegate management of their portfolios to financial intermediaries, which may invest across a broad array of assets or specialize in a certain investment style or asset class. The delegated nature of investments necessitates understanding the principal-agent issues and market frictions associated with each type of asset class.
Andrew Ang was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 1999 to 2017.