LAST Insight

The Toxic Side of Mutual Funds 

Did the Nobel Prize-winning work of Harry Markowitz unwittingly contribute to the rise of common ownership today?

Azar, José

Date: First Quarter 2017

Tags: Harry Markowitz, portfolio, mutual fund, common ownership, index fund

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In his classic 1952 paper, "Portfolio Selection," financial economist Harry Markowitz developed what is known as "modern portfolio theory." The success of Markowitz's ideas brings us to our current situation: mutual fund companies -- namely, BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity -- are now the world's largest asset managers; and hence a rise in common ownership issues.

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