13: Benchmarking and Portfolio Construction

Course Description

Consider the benefits of comparing the risk and return of fixed income portfolios to market-based benchmarks. Identify the primary factors impacting the selection of an appropriate benchmark. Evaluate common risk measures including standard deviation, tracking error, Sharpe measure, and information ratio. Compare several active and passive portfolio construction techniques. Analyze the return of sample portfolios versus a designated benchmark.


1: Importance of Selecting an Appropriate Market Benchmark

2: Absolute and Relative Risk Measures

3: Portfolio Structures

4: Evaluating Portfolio Risk and Return


$995 for students, governments and non-profits

$1650 for corporate and for-profit entities

Group pricing for teams of 5 or more

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Course Requirements


Course 6 Recommended or Pass on Pre-Test

Program Level


Field of Study


Credit Hours


Course Instructor

Marcia Clark, CFA

Chief Learning Officer and Course Designer, Fixed Income Academy


As the Chief Learning Officer and Course Designer, Marcia is responsible for ensuring that the development and delivery of FIA programs meets the highest quality of continuing education standards. She draws upon 30+ years of fixed income experience to work with designers and subject matter experts to create and deliver engaging training focused on the essential concepts, tools, and techniques institutional investors need to successfully navigate the ever-changing financial market landscape. Her unique experience asan educator and practitioner equips her to help students acquire knowledge that is both useful and relevant. In addition to her role at Fixed Income Academy, Ms. Clark is a full-time lecturer in the finance department of California State University, Fullerton, where she teaches courses in corporate finance and fixed income. Prior to her current positions at FIA and CSUF, Ms. Clark completed a 27-year career with the investment firm PIMCO and its parent company Allianz Global Investors. Over her long career, Ms. Clark held positions such as accounting supervisor, derivatives education specialist, and senior vice president and account manager. Her final role at Allianz Global Investors was global director of the AllianzGI Academy where she created and delivered professional development courses to client-facing staff in New York, Germany, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Ms. Clark received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute in 1999, and in 2001 earned a Masters degree in business administration from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

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