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Understanding Risk: Systemic versus Idiosyncratic
Schill, Michael J. Technical Note F-1973 / Published January 21, 2021 / 8 pages.
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Product Overview

Using the fictional situation of two brothers facing the challenge of managing a commodity business in central Africa, this note explores different metrics for risk and related considerations for investors. The note considers measures of volatility, including the difference between systematic risk and idiosyncratic risk, and how diversification reduces idiosyncratic risk. The note uses these concepts to motivate the foundations of portfolio risk assessment by rational investors and the theory of the capital asset pricing model.


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  • Overview

    Using the fictional situation of two brothers facing the challenge of managing a commodity business in central Africa, this note explores different metrics for risk and related considerations for investors. The note considers measures of volatility, including the difference between systematic risk and idiosyncratic risk, and how diversification reduces idiosyncratic risk. The note uses these concepts to motivate the foundations of portfolio risk assessment by rational investors and the theory of the capital asset pricing model.

  • Learning Objectives