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Convert constraints from absolute to active format


ActiveConSet = abs2active(AbsConSet,Index)


ActiveConSet = abs2active(AbsConSet,Index) transforms a constraint matrix to an equivalent matrix expressed in active weight format (relative to the index).

Input Arguments


Portfolio linear inequality constraint matrix expressed in absolute weight format. AbsConSet is formatted as [A b] such that A*w <= b, where A is a number of constraints (NCONSTRAINTS) by number of assets (NASSETS) weight coefficient matrix, and b and w are column vectors of length NASSETS. The value w represents a vector of absolute asset weights whose elements sum to the total portfolio value. See the output ConSet from portcons for additional details about constraint matrices.


NASSETS-by-1 vector of index portfolio weights. The sum of the index weights must equal the total portfolio value (for example, a standard portfolio optimization imposes a sum-to-one budget constraint).

Output Arguments


The transformed portfolio linear inequality constraint matrix expressed in active weight format, also of the form [A b] such that A*w <= b. The value w represents a vector of active asset weights (relative to the index portfolio) whose elements sum to zero.


Set up constraints for a portfolio optimization for portfolio w0 with constraints in the form A*w <= b, where w is absolute portfolio weights. (Absolute weights do not depend on the tracking portfolio.) Use abs2active to convert constraints in terms of absolute weights into constraints in terms of active portfolio weights, defined relative to the tracking portfolio w0. Assume three assets with the following mean and covariance of asset returns:

m = [ 0.14; 0.10; 0.05 ];
C = [ 0.29^2 0.4*0.29*0.17 0.1*0.29*0.08; 0.4*0.29*0.17 0.17^2 0.3*0.17*0.08;...
0.1*0.29*0.08 0.3*0.17*0.08 0.08^2 ];

Absolute portfolio constraints are the typical ones (weights sum to 1 and fall from 0 through 1), create the A and b matrices using portcons:

AbsCons = portcons('PortValue',1,3,'AssetLims', [0; 0; 0], [1; 1; 1;]);

Use the Portfolio object to determine the efficient frontier:

p = Portfolio('AssetMean', m, 'AssetCovar', C);
p = p.setInequality(AbsCons(:,1:end-1), AbsCons(:,end));

The tracking portfolio w0 is:

w0 = [ 0.1; 0.55; 0.35 ];

Use abs2active to compute the constraints for active portfolio weights:

ActCons = abs2active(AbsCons, w0)

This returns:

ActCons =

    1.0000    1.0000    1.0000         0
   -1.0000   -1.0000   -1.0000         0
    1.0000         0         0    0.9000
         0    1.0000         0    0.4500
         0         0    1.0000    0.6500
   -1.0000         0         0    0.1000
         0   -1.0000         0    0.5500
         0         0   -1.0000    0.3500

Use the Portfolio object p and its efficient frontier to demonstrate expected returns and risk relative to the tracking portfolio w0:

p = p.setInequality(ActCons(:,1:end-1), ActCons(:,end));

Note, when using abs2active to compute "active constraints" for use with a Portfolio object, don't use the Portfolio object's default constraints because the relative weights can be positive or negative (the setDefaultConstraints function specifies weights to be nonnegative).


abs2active transforms a constraint matrix to an equivalent matrix expressed in active weight format (relative to the index). The transformation equation is




The initial constraint matrix consists of NCONSTRAINTS portfolio linear inequality constraints expressed in absolute weight format. The index portfolio vector contains NASSETS assets.

Introduced before R2006a

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