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Information Ratio


The information ratio (IR) is a performance measure used to assess the risk-adjusted return of a portfolio. This metric provides a nuanced understanding of investment performance, going beyond mere returns by incorporating risk-adjusted measures into its calculation, assessing the effectiveness of an investment manager in generating returns that surpass the benchmark while considering the level of risk taken to achieve those returns. It is calculated by dividing the excess return of a portfolio over the risk-free rate by the portfolio's tracking error. The tracking error is a measure of the volatility of a portfolio's returns relative to its benchmark.



The Information Ratio is calculated by dividing the excess return of a portfolio over a benchmark by the tracking error. Mathematically, it is represented as:


Rp = Portfolio return

Rb = Benchmark return

TE = Tracking error as the standard deviation of difference between portfolio and benchmark returns


For example, if a portfolio has a return of 10%, the benchmark return is 5%, and the tracking error is 3%, then the IR would be:



The Information Ratio provides investors with a comprehensive evaluation of the excess return generated relative to the risk taken. A higher Information Ratio suggests that the portfolio manager has been adept at outperforming the benchmark while effectively managing risk. Conversely, a lower Information Ratio may indicate underperformance or higher risk levels relative to returns.

The IR can be used to compare the performance of different portfolios with different risk levels. A higher IR indicates that a portfolio has generated more excess return per unit of risk than a portfolio with a lower IR.




Utilizing the Information Ratio involves assessing the quality of investment decisions by scrutinizing the balance between risk and return. A good Information Ratio is subjective and varies across different investment strategies and asset classes. Generally, a ratio higher than 0 indicates positive risk-adjusted returns, a good IR is typically considered to be anything above 1, with higher values signaling superior performance relative to risk.

Investors can leverage the Information Ratio to compare the performance of various portfolios or managers within similar investment categories. Additionally, it aids in identifying skilled portfolio managers capable of consistently delivering alpha, the excess return earned above the benchmark.

However, it is important to remember that the IR is a relative measure, and it should be used in conjunction with other performance metrics such as the Sharpe ratio.



While both the Information Ratio and Sharpe Ratio evaluate risk-adjusted returns, they differ in their approach. The Sharpe ratio is calculated by dividing the excess return of a portfolio over the risk-free rate by the portfolio's standard deviation.

Conversely, the Information Ratio measures the excess return relative to the specific risk associated with tracking error, providing insights into active management performance against a benchmark.

In conclusion, the Information Ratio serves as a vital tool in the arsenal of investors, offering a nuanced perspective on investment performance. By incorporating risk-adjusted measures, it facilitates informed decision-making and aids in the pursuit of optimal portfolio management strategies. The tracking error is a more forward-looking measure of risk, while the standard deviation is a more backward-looking measure of risk.


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