Risk taking and optimal contract for money managers


RAND Journal of Economics

printemps 2003, vol. 34, n°1, pp.113-138

Départements : Finance

We study delegated portfolio management when the agent controls the riskiness of the portfolio. Under general conditions, we show that the optimal contract is simply a bonus contract: the agent is paid a fixed sum if the portfolio return is above a threshold. We derive a criterion to decide whether the optimal contract induces excessive or insufficient risk. If a deviation from efficient risk taking causes a large (small) reduction in the expected return of the portfolio, the optimal contract induces excessive (insufficient) risk. In other words, the cheaper it is to play with risk, the less risk the agent takes.