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Possibly she is referring to the fact that classical PCA is not robust in the sense that its asymptotic properties depend on the distribution of the data. Large deviations from normality will result in sub-optimal estimates, or estimates that are distorted. If this is what she has in mind, then you can use robust PCA instead (cf. Candes et. al.)


Let's use the following returns matrix, X 2Y 5Y 10Y -------------------------- 0.0143 0.0910 0.1451 0.1791 0.3505 0.4588 0.0572 0.1358 0.0120 0.0357 0.1809 0.2884 -0.0571 -0.1096 -0.0719 0.0286 0.0710 0.1319 0.0429 0.1806 0.2754 -0.0357 -0.0579 -0.1075 0.0714 0.2513 0.4304 -0.0214 -0....


Sounds like PCA is not the approach you're looking for. If you're looking to transform a risk vector in terms of securities V into a risk vector in terms of securities W, then the basic approach would be to perform a linear regression of V against W. The resulting regression coefficients will form a matrix B which will give a change of basis between V and W. ...

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