Question

When Mary Owens’ husband, Ralph, passed away about three months ago he left behind a small fortune, which he had accumulated by living a very thrifty life and by investing in common stocks. Ralph had worked s an engineer for a surgical instruments manufacturer for over 30 years and had taken full advantage of the company’s voluntary retirement savings plan. However, instead of buying a diversified set of investment he had invested his money into a few high growth companies. Over time his investment portfolio had growth to about $900,000 being primarily comprised of the stocks of 3 companies. He was very fortunate that his selections turned out to be good ones and after numerous stock-splits the prices of the three companies had appreciated significantly over time.
Mary, on the other hand, was a very conservative and cautious person. She had devoted her lie to being a stay-home mom and had raised their two kinds into fine adults, each of whom had a fairly successful career. Jim, 28, had followed in Ralph’s footsteps. In addition to being gainfully employed as engineer, he was pursuing an MBA at a prestigious business school. Annette, 26, was completing her residency at a major metropolitan hospital. Although Mary and Ralph had enjoyed a wonderful married life, it was Ralph who managed almost all the financial affairs of their family. Mary, like many spouses of their generation, preferred to focus on other family matters.
It was only after Ralph’s passing on that Mary realized how unprepared she was for the complex decisions that have to be made when managing one’s wealth. Upon the advice of her close friend, Agnes, Mary decided to call the broker’s office and requested that her account be turned over to Bill May, the firm’s senior financial advisor. Agnes, a widow herself, had been very happy with Bill’s advice and professionalism. He had helped her rebalance and reallocate her portfolio with the result that her portfolio’s value had steadily increased over the years without much volatility.
At their first meeting, Bill examined the Owen’s portfolio and was shocked at how narrowly focused its composition had been. In fact, just during the past year – due to the significant drop in the technology sector – the portfolio had lost almost 30% of its value. “Ralph, certainly liked to flirt with risk,” said Bill. “The first thing we are going to have to do is diversify your portfolio and lower its beta. As is stands, you could make a lot of money if the technology sector takes off but the reverse scenario could be devastating. I am sure you will agree with me that given your status in life you don’t need to bear this much of risk.” Mary shrugged her shoulder and looked blankly at Bill. “Diversify...Beta.what are you talking about? These terms are new to me and so confusing. You are right, Bill, I don’t need the high risk but can you explain to me how the risk level of my portfolio can be lowered?” Bill realized right away that Mary needed a primer on the risk-return trade-off and on portfolio management. Accordingly, he scheduled another appointment for later that week and prepared the following exhibit to demonstrate the various nuances, expected return, and portfolio management (see Table 1).
Table 1


Questions:
1. Imagine your Bill. How would you explain to Mary the relationship between risk and return of individual stocks? Find Expected Return and Standard Deviation for each stock in the Ralph’s portfolio.
2. Mary has no idea what Beta means and how it is related to the required rate of return of the stocks. Explain how you would help her understand these concepts. Calculated Beta of each stock in the Ralph’s portfolio. (If necessary use Excel spreadsheet for calculation.)
3. How should Bill demonstrate the meaning and advantages of diversification to Mary? Find Expected Return and Standard Deviation of a portfolio that comprises 50% of High-Tech stocks and 50% of Counter-Cyclical stocks.
4. Using a suitable diagram explain how Bill could use the Security Market Line (SML) to show Mary which stocks could be undervalued and which may be overvalued? Find Expected Return and Required Return of each stock and plot them on SML.
5. During the presentation Mary asks Bill “Let’s say I choose a well diversified portfolio, what effect interest rates will have on my portfolio?” How should Bill respond?
6. Should Bill take Mary out of investing in stocks and preferably put all her money in fixed-income securities? Explain.
7. Mary tells Bill, “I keep hearing stories about how people have made thousands of dollars by following their brokers’ hot tips. Can you give me some hot tips regarding undervalued stocks?” How should Bill respond?
8. If Mary decided to invest her money equally in high-tech and counter-cyclical stocks, what would her portfolio’s expected return and risk level be? Are these expectations realistic? Please, explain.
9. What would happen if Mary were to put 70% of her portfolio in the high-tech stocks and 30% in the Index Fund? Would this combination be better for her? Please, explain.
10. Based on these calculations what do you think Bill should propose as a possible portfolio combination forMary?


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  • CreatedJuly 26, 2013
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