Risk and Returns: Concept of Risk and Returns

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Other things remaining equal, the higher the correlation in returns between two assets, the smaller are the potential benefits from diversification. The returns from an investment cannot be thought of in isolation of the risk factor. Since the future is uncertain, there is always a chance that the returns will be either better or worse than anticipated.

Opposite of a needs analysis, a root cause analysis is performed because something is happening that shouldn’t be. This type of risk analysis strives to identify and eliminate processes that cause issues. Whereas other types of risk analysis often forecast what needs to be done or what could be getting done, a root cause analysis aims to identify the impact of things that have already happened or continue to happen.

The most effective way to manage investing risk is through regular risk assessment and diversification. Although diversification won’t ensure gains or guarantee against losses, it does provide the potential to improve returns based on your goals and target level of risk. Finding the right balance between risk and return helps investors and business managers achieve their financial goals through investments that they can be most comfortable with. Systematic risks, also known as market risks, are risks that can affect an entire economic market overall or a large percentage of the total market.

When an investment functions well, risk and return should highly correlate. The higher an investment’s risk, the greater its potential returns should be. By contrast, a very safe (low-risk) investment should generally offer low returns. Your return is the amount of money you expect to get back from an investment over the amount that you initially put in. An investment has posted a return if it generates even a single penny more than your initial investment.

If the time period you are looking at is long enough, you can reasonably assume that an investment’s average return over time is the return you can expect in the next year. For example, if a company’s stock has returned, on average, 9 percent per year over the last twenty years, then if next year is an average year, that investment should return 9 percent again. Over the eighteen-year span from 1990 to 2008, for example, the average return for the S&P 500 was 9.16 percent. Unless you have some reason to believe that next year will not be an average year, the average return can be your expected return. The longer the time period you consider, the less volatility there will be in the returns, and the more accurate your prediction of expected returns will be. The most commonly used measure of volatility of returns in finance is the standard deviation of the returns.

  1. The returns along with their corresponding probabilities for Company ABC and Company XYZ are given in Table 3.2.
  2. This type of risk can stem from a change in government, legislative bodies, other foreign policy makers, or military control.
  3. Third, risk communication is the company-wide approach to acknowledging and addressing risk.
  4. While there is an ongoing cost to maintaining insurance, it pays off by providing certainty against certain negative outcomes.

Using the concepts of this theory, assets are combined in a portfolio based on statistical measurements such as standard deviation and correlation. The returns of a company may vary due to certain factors that affect only that company. Examples of such factors are raw material scarcity, labour strike, management ineffi­ciency, etc.

This type of risk can stem from a change in government, legislative bodies, other foreign policy makers, or military control. Also known as geopolitical risk, the risk becomes more of a factor as an investment’s time horizon gets longer. When investing in foreign countries, it’s important to consider the fact that currency exchange rates can change the price of the asset as well.


The real estate developer may perform a business impact analysis to understand how each additional day of the delay may impact their operations. Finally, risk analysis attempts to estimate the extent of https://1investing.in/ the impact that will be made if the event happens. Many risks that are identified, such as market risk, credit risk, currency risk, and so on, can be reduced through hedging or by purchasing insurance.

Measuring Risk

When it comes to investing, risk and return come hand-in-hand – you cannot have one without the other. As an investor, typically, you need to take on more investment risk in order to realize higher investment returns. While this is not always the case, in general, investors should expect this relationship to hold. If an investor is unwilling to take on investment risk, they should not expect returns above the risk-free rate of return. The authors of this book conducted a study on equity returns in India for the period 1994–2014 (Singh et al., 2016). These findings are taken from the same to illustrate the concept of risk (volatility) in practice, in the Indian equity returns.

The financial crisis of 2008, for example, exposed these problems as relatively benign VaR calculations that greatly understated the potential occurrence of risk events posed by portfolios of subprime mortgages. Risk analysis may detect early warning signs of potentially catastrophic events. For example, risk analysis may identify that customer information is not being adequately secured. In this example, risk analysis can lead to better processes, stronger documentation, more robust internal controls, and risk mitigation. VaR is calculated by shifting historical returns from worst to best with the assumption that returns will be repeated, especially where it concerns risk.

Increased potential returns on investment usually go hand-in-hand with increased risk. Different types of risks include project-specific risk, industry-specific risk, competitive risk, international risk, and market risk. The expected financial returns, to be received from an investment in a
capital project or financial security come directly from the cash flows the
investment generates.

Step #2: Identify Uncertainty

The returns along with their corresponding probabilities for Company ABC and Company XYZ are given in Table 3.2. Return is the reward earned for bearing risk; hence, the higher the risk, the higher the return. Consider a manufacturer who is developing a product or service that has never been introduced in the market. For example, some years ago, the company Sony® came up with an innovation—the Walkman!

A looming default in 2023 would likely be worse, given the higher level of overall debt and the more polarized political environment. O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers. This presentation
demonstrates the graphical construction of a typical characteristic line.

To do this, you need to know how to read or use the information available. Perhaps the most critical information to have about an investment is its potential return and susceptibility to types of risk. Hedging is the process of eliminating uncertainty by entering into an agreement with a counterparty.

Qualitative Risk Analysis

The decision may be as simple as identifying, quantifying, and analyzing the risk of the project. First, risk assessment is the process of identifying what risks are present. Second, risk management is the procedures in place to minimize the damage done by risk. Third, risk communication is the company-wide approach to acknowledging and addressing risk. These three main components work in tandem to identify, mitigate, and communicate risk.

Risk and Time Horizons

Basically, risk indicates the variability or distance from the expected event/return. Absent any other information, investors will choose Bond A because this offers them a better chance to keep their money. To compete, Bond B has to concept of risk and return raise the interest rates that it offers until this return outweighs the risk of nonpayment. This type of risk arises from the use of financial models to make investment decisions, evaluate risks, or price financial instruments.

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