Wednesday, 2 December 2015

"No risk, no reward." "Higher risk, higher returns."

Risk:  The probability and value of financial loss.

Specific risk:  Risk that is associated with an individual investment.

Old cliche in finance:  "no risk, no reward".

But there is absolutely no reason to think that accepting risk inherently generates financial returns.  

The reality is the opposite:  all other things being equal, higher risk causes you lower financial gain, since the costs you incur as a result of the elevated risk corrode the value of your assets.

All other things being equal between two distinct investment options, if one option has greater risk, then the organisation selling that investment must offer a higher rate of return in order to attract investors.

It is not that the higher risk causes higher returns - it is that investors demand higher returns in order to accept the higher risk.

Various models are used to understand the relationship between risk and returns:

  1. CAPM
  2. APT
  3. Value at Risk
  4. Expected Shortfall
  5. Ratings by underwriting agencies

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