Systematic Risk in Conventional and Islamic Equity Markets

Published date01 September 2016
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/irfi.12077
Date01 September 2016
AuthorAhmet Sensoy
Systematic Risk in Conventional and
Islamic Equity Markets
AHMET SENSOY
Research & Business Development, Borsa Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
ABSTRACT
We aim to compare the systematic risk in conventional and Islamic equity
markets by introducing two dynamic risk measures. Accordingly, the level of
the systematic risk in conventional markets is slightly higher than the risk in
Islamicmarkets for most of the time.However,this difference is signicantin less
than 3% of the sample period. More importantly, there is no signicant
difference in the levels of systematic risk during the global nancial crisis of
2008, suggestingthat Islamic equities arenot able to provide a lower marketrisk
compared with theirconventional counterparts in nancialturbulent times.
JEL classication: C14, C58, G01, G15,G32
In nancial markets, systematic risk is the risk that may affect the functioning of
the entire market and cannot be avoided through measures such as portfolio di-
versication. Also known as the market risk, it affects the overall system, not just
a particular stock or industry.
Although the subject has been of interest for a long time in nance literature, it has
become more important than ever in the last decade due to the catastrophic events
triggered by the late global nancial crisis. In particular, anyone who invested in the
equity markets in 2008 saw the values of their investments change (drop) because
of this market-wide economic event, regardless of what types of equities they held.
Within this crisisperiod, in an environment where eventhe benets of portfolio
diversication have been questioned, market players and academics started to
search for remedies and renovation solutions to the problem of systematic risk in
conventional nancial system. In this process, Islamic equity markets (i.e., Sharia
compliant stocks) emerged as a viable alternative because of their seemingly resil-
ient structure.
1
In particular, Sharia compliant stocks are low-leverage stocks with
1 Sharia compliance excludes companies whose primary businessesare alcohol, pork-relatedprod-
ucts, conventional nancialservices, tobacco,entertainment (e.g., gambling, hotels,and pornog-
raphy) weapons and defense. In addition, it strictly imposes the zero interest-based leverage.
However, as the latter condition ishard to satisfy, a certain tolerance is required. Accordingly, to
be compliant with Shariarules, the following nancial ratios must be lower than 33%: (i) total
debt dividedby trailing 24-monthaverage market capitalization, (ii) thesum of a companyscash
and interest-bearing securities divided by trailing 24-month average market capitalization, and
(iii) accountsreceivables divided by trailing24-month average market capitalization.
© 2016 International Review of Finance Ltd. 2016
International Review of Finance, 16:3, 2016: pp. 457466
DOI: 10.1111/ir.12077

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