International versus Domestic Portfolio Diversification

Dr. Antonios Antoniou is the CEO of FRT Consulting. Dr. Antonios Antoniou has published numerous papers, including “Why diversify internationally when domestic diversification provides similar benefits?”

Tony Antoniou and his co-authors point out that investors’ portfolios generally contain more domestic than international stocks, even though it is better in theory to diversify. Known as home bias, the principle holds that investors prefer local stocks, as diversifying internationally is believed to entail additional risks such as exchange rate risk and restrictions on capital flows.

Despite these limitations, the call to obtain international diversification benefits led to the development of country/regional funds. Furthermore, more foreign companies have listed on stock exchanges in developed markets, and multinational stocks are often listed in domestic markets. This has produced an environment where some international diversification benefits can still be derived.

Using better estimation methods and creating local diversification portfolios that imitated foreign equity indices, the study showed that there were actually no significant benefits to having an internationally diversified portfolio. A diversified local portfolio can produce results that are similar to an internationally diversified one.

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