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Adobe: Pushing the Cash Portfolio Toward an Allowable Efficient Frontier

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August 20, 2008

By Bryan Richardson

Few corporate investment managers are able to pursue a total return strategy that would put their cash portfolios anywhere close to an "efficient frontier." But most probably do wonder occasionally how well their portfolio is performing compared to what it could be if it were not confined to the parameters of their investment policy, eps concerns, etc. With this information, they then would be in a better position to argue the trade-offs between the constraints and the lost returns. Another way to strengthen their argument, would be to run various “what if” scenarios looking over a certain historical time period to define an efficient frontier “benchmark” and then assess the constraints imposed by policy and risk appetite relative to this benchmark.

Adobe Systems Incorporated’s director for investments, Stuart Loan, showed firms how they can do this in a presentation to the NeuGroup’s Treasury Investment Managers’ Peer Group in May. Adobe’s approach serves as a good example for the growing number of firms that want to optimize their cash portfolio returns, but within the realities of a corporate environment.

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