measure of risk

When there is a choice between two or more, it is always better to pick the one which has the highest sharpe ratio since it signifies the maximum return as compared to the risk involved. The Sortino ratio is a measurement of an asset’s rate of return, adjusted for risk. It is based on the Sharpe ratio, which looks at downside deviation to separate bad risk from regular risk. As you already know, the risk in a portfolio means the variation in the portfolio’s returns. The more the returns fluctuate, the riskier the portfolio is deemed to be.

While the sharpe ratio is a good measure to assess a portfolio in the long term, in the short run, it might display a false image if there are any abrupt price movements in the market. Generally speaking, the Sharpe ratio is used to assess the risk/return of a portfolio, or an individual investment – however, most use it for a basket of investments (e.g. mutual funds). The performance of an investment or portfolio should not be judged on total returns alone. Because higher risk investments typically yield higher returns, the risk-adjusted return is a better way to assess a portfolio.

Example of Sortino Ratio (With Excel Template)

Although, it does not exist because every investment has a certain amount of risk. Ri are the investment returns, MAR is the minimum acceptable return, and f is the continuous probability distribution of the returns. The main advantage of DD is that is a better measure of risk for investors that care about the downside risk in an investment. Investors who want to avoid drawdowns at all costs, can benefit from calculating DD. 2.There is something more…  The reliability of the scheme too is a critical aspect.  A scheme giving good returns but is extremely volatile or unreliable may not find favor with a larger number of investors.

As with volatility, the Sharpe ratio involves taking funds’ rolling returns. Standard deviation gives the extent to which a fund’s returns fluctuate. Measuring standard deviation involves taking a specific return period over a length of time and applying the normal standard deviation formula on these returns.

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A negative Sortino ratio means that the risk-free rate is higher than the portfolio’s return. The Sharpe ratio and the Sortino ratio are risk-adjusted evaluations of return on investment. Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account. For example, ICICI Pru Savings Fund’s average 1-year return over the past 4 years has been 8.05%, better than ABSL Money Manager’s 7.8%. But the ICICI fund saw 1-week returns slip into losses 7% of the time against the ABSL fund’s 1.3%. Standard deviation also does not tell you whether the deviation was higher on the upside or downside.

In contrast, the Sortino ratio examines risk-adjusted returns, but it only considers the downside risks. In such a way, the Sortino ratio is seen as a better indicator of risk-adjusted returns since it doesn’t consider upside risks, which aren’t a cause for concern to investors. To measure the Sortino ratio, start by finding the difference between the weighted mean of return and the risk-free return rate. Next, find the quotient between this difference and the standard deviation of downside risks. Downside deviation is a measure of price volatility, or how stable it is over a certain amount of time.

Two investments with the same standard deviations are likely to have different downside deviations. Standard deviation in the Sharpe Ratio measures the dispersion of data around its mean, both above and below. However, the Sortino Ratio uses downside deviation; meaning upside volatility is not part of the ratio’s calculation whatsoever. All transactions on the currency spot market are speculative and all investments should be made using risk capital that is not crucially required. There may be a considerable risk of losses on the currency spot market and all transactions using Scandinavian Capital Markets SCM AB are at risk of capital loss.

Fund comparison

Compared to the Sharpe ratio, the Sortino ratio is a superior metric, as it only accounts for the downside variability of risks. Such an analysis makes sense, as it enables investors to assess downside risks, which is what they should worry about. Upward risks (i.e., when an investment generates an unexpected financial gain) isn’t really a cause for concern. The result is then divided by the standard deviation of negative returns. Ideally, a high Sortino ratio is preferred, as it indicates that an investor will earn a higher return for each unit of a downside risk.

acceptable return

This is so the Sortino ratio will return a higher value that Sharpe ratio when there are many observations above the target. If you consider a reduced sample the Sortino will be lower than Sharpe, which is not the idea of this ratio. The standard deviation is a statistic measuring the dispersion of a dataset relative to its mean and is calculated as the square root of the variance. Over the past 12 months, the S&P 500 is up 23.6% with a standard deviation of 4.2%.

Upside/Downside Ratio: Formula and Investing Strategies

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  • The Sharpe Ratio and the Sortino Ratio are both risk-adjusted evaluations of return on investment and make use of similar formula, so the Sortino Ratio is a variation of the Sharpe.
  • Sharpe’s goal for creating the Sharpe ratio was to mathematically confirm whether or not various investments’ returns increased or decreased because of performance or just the market change alone.
  • In essence, the Sharpe Ratio assesses a few things; profit, volatility , and how much you could have otherwise profited from a risk-free investment, such as government-issued bonds.
  • Further, the complication in the investment decision can be eased by the use of the order to earn a maximum possible return from a given company or a portfolio of the various assets with minimum acceptable risk.
  • Standard deviation takes into account each the constructive in addition to the adverse deviation in returns from the mean, therefore it doesn’t accurately measure the draw back risk.

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Understanding Sortino Ratio

Unlike standard deviation, this measures only downside returns that fall below minimum investment thresholds. Here ’R’ is the value of the expected portfolio returns, while ‘r’ is the rate of return for a risk-free investment. However, one has a downside deviation of 9%, and the other has a downside deviation of 5%. The Sortino ratio says that the second one is better, and it quantifies the difference. Suppose, a scheme A generated an annualised returns of 15% and the downside deviation of the scheme is 13%.

We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive. The average return percentage for 12 months of a company XYZ Ltd is given as follows. Examples of downside risk calculations include semi-deviation, value-at-risk , and Roy’s Safety First ratio.

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Sharpe ratio helps investors understand the return from an investment with respect to the risk involved. It tells of returns earned in excess of risk free rate per unit of volatility. In simple words, it helps in ascertaining the profits earned because of extra risk taken in investing in the security. The risk involved is measured using standard deviation and a higher sharpe ratio is more attractive since it indicates better return yielding capacity for every additional unit of risk taken. Sortino ratio is a suitable statistical tool for retail investors as they are more concerned about downside risks that accompany investments.

Alternatively, an investor may use anticipated portfolio performance and the anticipated threat-free rate to calculate an estimated Sharpe ratio (ex-ante). The larger a portfolio’s Sharpe ratio, the higher its danger-adjusted-performance. If the evaluation results in a negative Sharpe ratio, it both means the risk-free rate is larger than the portfolio’s return, or the portfolio’s return is expected to be unfavorable. This makes sense as a result of we don’t care about volatility if it’s in our favor. Ultimately, the Treynor ratio makes an attempt to measure how successful an funding is in providing compensation to buyers for taking on funding danger.

The Treynor ratio is reliant upon a portfolio’s beta—that is, the sensitivity of the portfolio’s returns to movements in the market—to judge threat. Volatility is a measure of the worth fluctuations of an asset or portfolio. To calculate the Sharpe ratio, you first calculate the expected return on an funding portfolio or particular person stock and then subtract the risk-free fee of return. Sortino Ratio is an indicator that measures a portfolio’s risk-adjusted performance. It is similar to the Sharpe ratio but uses downside deviation as a measure of risk. The fact that since this ratio uses the downside deviation method to measure risk aspect, the shortcomings of the same influence it significantly.


Because it means that while a which ratio uses downside deviation can fall sharply, in rallying markets it can truly deliver well above the market and make up for lost returns. Consider Invesco India Contra that has a downside capture of 98% (based on 1-month losses). On the upside, though, it captures 112% of the Nifty 500’s gains, resulting in better-than-average returns. The Sharpe ratio is the return a fund has delivered for a given level of risk. Effectively, what Sharpe measures is that, for a given return, how much risk has been taken to arrive at it. When you have two funds with similar returns but where one has lower volatility and the other has higher volatility, you’d obviously go with the first one.

Sortino Ratio

You can use the Sortino ratio calculator below to quickly measure your investment asset or portfolio’s risk-adjusted return by entering the required numbers. For example, because this ratio is only focused on downside deviation, all limitations of the risk automatically apply to the calculation. When it comes to downside deviation, the calculation only becomes relevant when there are enough negative observations. Volatility helps you understand the extent to which returns can swing and what to expect from the fund based on how the market is performing. For example, the prices of investments held in privately-owned companies rarely change; hence they are illiquid. If they are incorporated in the Sortino ratio, it will seem as if the risk-adjusted returns are favorable, yet they aren’t.