python   python   MIT license   MIT license  

PyPortfolioOpt is a library that implements portfolio optimization methods, including classical efficient frontier techniques and Black-Litterman allocation, as well as more recent developments in the field like shrinkage and Hierarchical Risk Parity, along with some novel experimental features like exponentially-weighted covariance matrices.

It is extensive yet easily extensible, and can be useful for both the casual investor and the serious practitioner. Whether you are a fundamentals-oriented investor who has identified a handful of undervalued picks, or an algorithmic trader who has a basket of strategies, PyPortfolioOpt can help you combine your alpha sources in a risk-efficient way.


If you would like to play with PyPortfolioOpt interactively in your browser, you may launch Binder here. It takes a while to set up, but it lets you try out the cookbook recipes without having to install anything.

Prior to installing PyPortfolioOpt, you need to install C++. On macOS, this means that you need to install XCode Command Line Tools (see here).

For Windows users, download Visual Studio here, with additional instructions here.

Installation can then be done via pip:

pip install PyPortfolioOpt

For the sake of best practice, it is good to do this with a dependency manager. I suggest you set yourself up with poetry, then within a new poetry project run:

poetry add PyPortfolioOpt

The alternative is to clone/download the project, then in the project directory run

python install

Thanks to Thomas Schmelzer, PyPortfolioOpt now supports Docker (requires make, docker, docker-compose). Build your first container with make build; run tests with make test. For more information, please read this guide.


If any of these methods don’t work, please raise an issue with the ‘packaging’ label on GitHub

For developers

If you are planning on using PyPortfolioOpt as a starting template for significant modifications, it probably makes sense to clone the repository and to just use the source code

git clone

Alternatively, if you still want the convenience of a global from pypfopt import x, you should try

pip install -e git+

A Quick Example

This section contains a quick look at what PyPortfolioOpt can do. For a guided tour, please check out the User Guide. For even more examples, check out the Jupyter notebooks in the cookbook.

If you already have expected returns mu and a risk model S for your set of assets, generating an optimal portfolio is as easy as:

from pypfopt.efficient_frontier import EfficientFrontier

ef = EfficientFrontier(mu, S)
weights = ef.max_sharpe()

However, if you would like to use PyPortfolioOpt’s built-in methods for calculating the expected returns and covariance matrix from historical data, that’s fine too:

import pandas as pd
from pypfopt.efficient_frontier import EfficientFrontier
from pypfopt import risk_models
from pypfopt import expected_returns

# Read in price data
df = pd.read_csv("tests/resources/stock_prices.csv", parse_dates=True, index_col="date")

# Calculate expected returns and sample covariance
mu = expected_returns.mean_historical_return(df)
S = risk_models.sample_cov(df)

# Optimize for maximal Sharpe ratio
ef = EfficientFrontier(mu, S)
weights = ef.max_sharpe()

This outputs the following:

Expected annual return: 33.0%
Annual volatility: 21.7%
Sharpe Ratio: 1.43

Project principles and design decisions

  • It should be easy to swap out individual components of the optimization process with the user’s proprietary improvements.
  • Usability is everything: it is better to be self-explanatory than consistent.
  • There is no point in portfolio optimization unless it can be practically applied to real asset prices.
  • Everything that has been implemented should be tested.
  • Inline documentation is good: dedicated (separate) documentation is better. The two are not mutually exclusive.
  • Formatting should never get in the way of good code: because of this, I have deferred all formatting decisions to Black.

Advantages over existing implementations

  • Includes both classical methods (Markowitz 1952 and Black-Litterman), suggested best practices (e.g covariance shrinkage), along with many recent developments and novel features, like L2 regularisation, exponential covariance, hierarchical risk parity.
  • Native support for pandas dataframes: easily input your daily prices data.
  • Extensive practical tests, which use real-life data.
  • Easy to combine with your proprietary strategies and models.
  • Robust to missing data, and price-series of different lengths (e.g FB data only goes back to 2012 whereas AAPL data goes back to 1980).


This is a non-exhaustive unordered list of contributors. I am sincerely grateful for all of your efforts!

  • Philipp Schiele
  • Carl Peasnell
  • Felipe Schneider
  • Dingyuan Wang
  • Pat Newell
  • Aditya Bhutra
  • Thomas Schmelzer
  • Rich Caputo
  • Nicolas Knudde

Indices and tables