I am trying to find out diferent oppinions about the feeling of proffesionals, and investors, about what realy means RISK.

I do not think volatility is the best way of analizing mutual funds risk.

Could any body explain something about down side risk. Or something about bear analysis.

Any special publication talking about that? THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Sorry for my english. I speak spanish much better.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 9:04 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** tim

javier

The following is taken from a book that you can read on-line at: http://www.investment-strategies.com/book/index.htm.

"Risk comes from several sources. Most finance books break it down like this:

Business Risk - A company may fail, leaving the stock or bond you hold worthless. Market Risk - Even if you have a strong company, a declining market may carry your stock down with it. Interest Rate Risk - The value of bonds varies inversely with interest rates. Stocks and other property are also affected by general interest rates. Inflation Risk - Your investment may not keep pace with inflation, resulting in a decrease in wealth or buying power. Currency Risk - Foreign holdings may change in value as the value of currency changes. Political Risk - The government may do something to harm the economic climate. This can vary from raising taxes, revolution, war, or confiscation of property, to imposing a minimum wage. "

the book is well worth reading.

.tim.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 9:57 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** ONTARIO FA

Traditional investment risk is defined using standard deviation. This stinks because it measures both up and down movements. When talking about risk, people try to gauge what they would be comfortable with. Would you be uncomfortable with a fund that took huge UPWARD swings - I doubt it. Most people are uncomfortable with large/frequent DOWNWARD moves. There is no real formula to measure this.

If you check out Duff Young's article on Fund Hangovers, it details a couple of funds that are riskier than most people probably think. It measures the biggest drop the fund ever had (whether it took 1 month or 1 year), then tells you how long it took the fund to recover to its previous peak. This is a simple yet powerful measure of risk.

P.S. It's in Adobe Acrobat format, so you'll need this software. If you don't have it, let me know; you can download it, free.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 11:45 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** ONTARIO FA

The issue here is risk. I thinks it's silly to punish a fund for one great year. If you focus on looking at the year-by-year returns, you will see how consistent a funds is. True one great year skews the compound returns - but maybe you shouldn't be looking at compound returns to analyze your funds. Look at individual years. This way you give credit to that one spectacular year - but you only count it once.

I think the guys at Fund Counsel need a little counselling themselves. I don't know how they got a regular Globe column but I just don't trust much of what they advise. And I've heard they carry a different tune in the Globe vs. in their newsletter. "Thank you so much for advising all of us to switch to cash in March of this year. Wonderful call!" Okay, I'll stop. I know there was another thread about these guys...just had to let it out.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 4:35 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Sil

Any Fund Counsel's subscribers, could you confirm whether there was any recommendation to move back into the market since March, when a categoric "switch all to cash" was issued?

ONTARIO FA, re: punishing a fund gor a great year - if you look at compound annual rate of return together with SD, it makes sense. That one great year would push the CARR higher, but the higher SD would warn you that this is not always the case. By definition, an average rate is somewhere in the middle, so you would always have better years and worse years. OTOH, I agree with you that annual figures are more useful.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 8:18 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** oldman2

Javier - i'm not a professional, just a do-it-yourselfer.

Like Ontario FA, I like to study the funds yearly returns (Jan 1 to Dec 31) rather than the compound numbers and compare them to the mean of their subgroup. In addition, the beta numbers give some indication of how the fund will do against the market index. And finally, especially in these uncertain times, I look at the price/earnings ratio of all the stocks in a fund's portfolio.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 8:50 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** DJ

Personally I feel that there is no need to be concerned about risk. Risk is so relative. I think that people should get to know the companies within a fund. Dig down to the core holdings, the top 10, and then investigate them. Now a company like Coke is not going to roll over and die overnight. It is a solid company. People should also try to buy companies that produce some of the products or services that they themselves use. Take Johnston 'n Johnston, Gillette, Proctor and Gamble. These are good solid companies. Yes if you want to be a little more risky you can go with the lesser-known companies, but still you should do some homework. Remember you wouldn't buy a car without a test drive or a pig in a bag. You need to test things out.

Just an amateurs opinion, please be gentle.

**Date:** 11-Nov-97 - 11:41 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Broker KSL

Risk is in the eyes of the beholder. Know your own objectives and just worry about that.

I will not try to attempt to define risk, as I think it is different to everyone. But's here's my down-to-earth opinion in understandable language for newer investors.

Similar to some of what's been said already, look at what the fund owns, and see if you like it. The more names that you haven't heard of, the more risk it will carry (especially if you're looking at a Cdn equity fund; this may not apply the same in a foreign fund, unless you are familiar with names of companies in the area they are investing).

And look at the high and low of the price for that fund (NAPVS) over the past year. Say the high is $20 and the low is $10. If you want to buy it at $20, then you're probably looking at more risk than than buying a similar one at $15. If you can't take the fund dropping from $20 down to $10 (and possibly lower), then the risk is too high for you.

The preceding also has to do with volatility. I believe the same thing applies to stocks as well as funds, in most cases as well.

This is keeping it simple, but I believe is also logical for most people. Especially if they don't have the knowledge or access to fundamental information, and don't have the urge to analyze things.

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 3:44 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Richard Deschene

Standard deviation is what it is - namely a measure of the average variability of a list of numbers (here rates of return) from the mean. The phrase "central tendency" is usually used in stats texts, and it's a good one - especially compared to the word risk.

I agree that calendar year returns are very useful, however, I think TRAILING RETURNS are even better as you look at many more different reporting periods, which can expose risky funds and how relatively volatile even some "plain Jane" equity funds are. e.g. Trimark Canadian has a 5year trailing returns of (best,worst,average): 26.8, 5.1, 12.7.

A PalTrak bar graph makes a compelling case for DCAing any lump sums you may stumble across. It will just increase the probability of getting an average return for that fund.

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 5:33 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** gummy

Well now, gotta say thet we got two funds here:

**A** has got itself returns which oscillated between 30% and 50% over the past umpteen years 'n' **B** which done did 'xactly the same oscillatin', but 40% lower ... like, between -10% and +10%.

Well now young fellers, use yer fancy risk measures 'n' tell us-all:

Which is the riskier^{*}?

^{*}: Y'all 'mediately see thet they both got themselves the same Standard Deviation, no?

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 7:25 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Bart

I think risk is something that should be viewed form different angles. What I mean by this is a compilation of different measurements including beta, standard deviation, Sharpe and Treynor measurement. One should also look at Trailing performance already mentioned. I believe that utlizing various measurements, especially when ranking a group of funds, is key in painting a much more precise picture.Standard deviation will always be one of the key measurements in determing volatility.

Please excuse my vocabulary, I'm only on my first coffee.

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 11:40 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** jd

*A has got itself returns which oscillated between 30% and 50% over the past umpteen years 'n' B which done did 'xactly the same oscillatin', but 40% lower ... like, between -10% and +10%. *

*
Well now young fellers, use yer fancy risk measures 'n' tell us-all: Which is the riskier*?*

They are identical ito risk, but asset A has a mean return of 40% while asset B has a mean 0% return. Clearly the latter is more desirable in accordance with the risk-return tradeoff associated with investment in risky outcomes.

Two assets with identical risk/std dev's makes the optimal asset choice decision relatively easy. Since risk is independent of asset choice (it is fixed), choice is based solely on the asset yielding the higer return. Under normal circumstances optimal asset choice is based on both risk and return.

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 11:52 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Richard Deschene

Randy. RE: My favourite disclaimer: "Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns". Does this apply to volatility as well as returns?

Right on! BOTH historical returns and standard deviation figures are based on NAVPS+distributions, so of course they are both only NECESSARILY accurate of that which has gone by.

gummy. Exactly my point (and thank ya plenty fur 'spressin' it more clearly), standard deviation only indicates the probability (or chance) of finding results deviating from the average (mean) result. A fund that returned a -10% return every time would have a S.D. of 0, as would a fund that returned +10% every time.

So give me a trailing returns graph (the same as ATP, isn't it?) and I'll use my eyes and brain and gut to help me decide. My only concern is that this makes it hard to use the "sort" function to separate the wheat from the chaff with 1400 mutual funds.

**Date:** 12-Nov-97 - 4:56 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** gummy

I've been playing with the monthly returns for various world markets from Jan, 1975 to June, 1997 and find a number of interesting things I'd like to share (sort of connected to the topic of this thread):

Did you know that:

- There was not a single 2-year period where you would have lost money in the U.S. Large Cap market.
- The chances of losing money in European Large Caps was only about 30% of the chance of making more than 10% ... over any 3-year period.
- In Cdn Small Caps, you were 1 1/2 times more likely to make more than 10% annual return over any 12 month period than to make less than 0%.
- In Pacific Large Caps, you would have lost more than 5% of your investment over a 6-month period 45% as many times as you would have made money.

From here the road gets bumpy ... Consider the following:

There are 246 intervals of length **M=24** months (from Jan, 1975 to June, 1997).

You invest in Stock XYZ or perhaps MutualFund ABC.

- What fraction of these 246 24-month intervals would have given you an annual return greater than
**U = 10%**? (**U** stands for **U**pper.) Suppose the answer is .5 meaning 50% these intervals would have given you an annual return greater than U = 10%). - What fraction of these 246 24-month intervals would have given you an annual return of less than
**L = 0%**? (**L** stands for **L**ower.) Suppose the answer is .1 meaning 10% of these intervals would have given you an annual return less than L = 0%.

The ratio GR^{3} = (fraction over 10%)/(fraction under 0%) = .5/.1 = 5 means that you were 5 times more likely to achieve a return of 10% or greater than to make less than 0%.

What if GR^{3} = 2? Twice as likely to achieve 10% than to lose money.

In fact, for Canadian Large Caps, we have GR^{3} = 2.0 and for other markets we have the following values of GR^{3}:

` Cdn Large Cap 2.0`

Cdn Small Cap 1.5

U.S. Large Cap 4.9

U.S. Small Cap 7.6

Euro Large Cap 3.2

Asia Large Cap 1.7

Of course, GR^{3} depends upon the values of **M**, **U** and **L** (as well as the total time interval Jan/75 - Jun/97, of course).

We'll call it GR^{3}(M,U,L) so that, since the above list considered the case M = **24** months and more than U = **10**% and less than L = **0**%, then we're talking about GR^{3}(**24**,**10**,**0**) and from the above list we can see that for US Small Caps, GR^{3}(24,10,0) = 7.6 meaning you were 7.6 times more likely to achieve 10% annual return than to lose money, over any 24 month period!

If you've come this far along, you may be interested to know that:

- GR
^{3}(24,0,0) = *infinity* for the U.S. Large Cap market. - GR
^{3}(36,10,0) = 3.3 in European Large Caps. - GR
^{3}(12,10,0) = 1.5 in Cdn Small Caps. - GR
^{3}(6,0,-5) = 2.2 in Pacific Large Caps.

You may recognize these "mathematical" statements.

They are precisely the statements 1, 2, 3 and 4 made earlier. P.S. For those gallant few who have made it this far, R^{3} stands for **R**isk **R**eward **R**atio:

making LESS than 0% is the **R**isk and

making MORE than 10% is the **R**eward and

we consider the **R**atio

... and you can guess what **G** stands for.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 6:58 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** gummy

jd:

I say *Investment ***A** has returns which oscillated between 30% and 50% over the past umpteen years and **B** has exactly the same oscillations, but 40% lower ... between -10% and +10% ... each has the __SAME__ Standard Deviation (SD), hence the same "Volatility" (as per definition of this word).

and you say *They are identical as to risk*

and I say *Then "Risk" is an inappropriate word and many have shared my concern over the misuse of this word.*

For a given SD (example: investments **A** and **B** above) it seems infinitely more reasonable to consider **A** less "Risky" (although equally "Volatile"). If you take an investment which often loses money and add 40% to the returns, the variations about the Average Return doesn't change (so SD remains constant) __BUT__ the "Risk" surely decreases!

*"Very risky, this Fund. Standard Deviation = 10."*

"Really? What was the average annual return over the past umpteen years?"

"It doubled every year ... 100% annual return."

"That's risky?"

"Of course! Don't you know anything about investment analysis?"

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 7:55 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Bart

Javier, to answer your question about Treynor measurement, it is the average monthly risk premium (fund or index return minus the risk free rate of return - risk free rates are based on the return on short term G.O.C. T-Bills) divided by the fund beta over last x years. If you are comparing a group of similar funds in the same class ie. small caps, you will notice different numbers representing the Treynor measure. The school of thought is the higher the number, the better. However, this is just one measurement and aagain, a compilation of risk measurements should be applied to assess risk on a particular fund.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 11:03 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Madelyn

The danger in comparing small-cap indices to large-cap indices, and assuming that small caps outperform, is that the indices do not reflect companies that fail. It is mostly small-cap companies that go under,and when they do, they are taken off the index, and replaced with another still successful company. I believe that there is more risk and less return in small-caps that any analysis of an index and it's variability would indicate.

Also, gummy, did you know that if you had invested in the S&P 500 in Jan. 1970, your compound annual return to Dec. 1974 would have been -4%. That's 5 years! There is a reason why some publish data that only goes back to 1975.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 11:22 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Randy

Madelyn

"*It is mostly small-cap companies that go under,and when they do, they are taken off the index, and replaced with another still successful company.*"

How does this cause the index to overstate the return of small cap funds? This sounds like the same thing I would expect the fund manager to do.

Now, individual campanies... there's a different story.

Randy.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 12:48 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** jd

*I say Investment A has returns which oscillated between 30% and 50% over the past umpteen years and B has exactly the same oscillations, but 40% lower ... between -10% and +10% ... each has the SAME Standard Deviation (SD), hence the same "Volatility" (as per definition of this word). and you say They are identical as to risk and I say Then "Risk" is an inappropriate word and many have shared my concern over the misuse of this word.*

Risk is simply not knowing which of different possible outcomes will actually occur at various future dates. It is synonymous with uncertainty. In this context, both assets A and B are identical. They both face identical risk, or dispersion about their mean. Of course, however, asset A is the preferred choice with its higher mean return. You are trying to combine the definitions of return with risk, which is a natural yet incorrect tendency - they are separate.

*For a given SD (example: investments A and B above) it seems infinitely more reasonable to consider A less "Risky" (although equally "Volatile"). If you take an investment which often loses money and add 40% to the returns, the variations about the Average Return doesn't change (so SD remains constant)BUT the "Risk" surely decreases!*

At the risk of sounding infinitely unreasonable, I disagree. The risk hasn't changed, only the mean return. The risk levels remain unchanged. Asset A is the preferred choice, of course, with it's higher mean, but the risks are identical.

*Now consider dividing SD by the Average Annual Return. When the Average Return increases, this ratio decreases. It makes a more reasonable measure of "Risk". The Ratio (SD/Mean Return) is the reciprocal of the Sharpe Ratio.*

Not quite. Recall the Sharpe index or "price of risk" is the risk premium divided by the SD,

(r_{asset} - r_{f})/SD

where r_{f} is a risk-free return.

It is often called the "price of risk" since it measures how risk and return can be traded off in making portfolio choices. I agree with you that the Sharpe Index is a reasonable measure of an asset's efficacy, but it doesn't measure risk alone. The measure combines the characteristics of both risk and return.

It is not a perfect measure, either. Look up in Paltrak the asset with the highest Sharpe Index measure.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 2:45 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Madelyn

Hi Randy, I guess I wasn't clear there. If you look at the Russell 2000, which is the small-cap index most follow in the US, the index is comprised of the smallest 2000 stocks of the Russell 3000, which is the largest 3000 companies domiciled in the US. They are ranked by decreasing market cap.

They exclude companies that trade under $1.00.

So if you look at the companies on the fringe, ...close to the bottom of the 2000, ...on May 31, if they trade under a $1.00, they are removed from the index, and replaced with the lastest company that moved up to a trading range over $1.00.

Looking at the company that was removed, if it went under sometime later, ...that risk is not taken into consideration. Also, if it dropped $.50 on May 31, but recovered within the year, and the next year was trading at $1.50,...& put back in the index, we don't see that fluctuation reflected in the SD of the small-cap index. We just see another company removed that's now trading at under $1.

It has been shown that contrary to the popular stats about fund managers not beating the S&P etc., it is much easier for them to beat the small-cap indexes. I think that these arbitrary rules of inclusion are why this is so. The large-cap indices are not subject to so much change-over.

My main point is that the returns & the risks of small-cap investing cannot be measured correctly by looking at the indices.

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 2:56 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Madelyn

Gummy, you want data? I got data for you....Go to http://econwpa.wustl.edu/eprints/data/papers/9603/9603001.abs#viewing

Here you will find Dow DAILY closing prices from 1900 to 1993, and S&P DAILY closings from 1926 to 1993. That ought to keep you busy for awhile.

Nice work you're doing by the way. Glad to see you've seen the light with DCA. Now, what would probably be useful, given the ageing population, is to prove (please!), why SWPs DON'T work. It has been my contention that SWPs don't work for the reasons that DCA does. Common sense tells me this is so, but I honestly haven't done the analysis that you do. Anyway, there's another project for you when you get a minute. ;-)

**Date:** 13-Nov-97 - 8:21 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Randy

Madelyn,

I appreciate your explanation of small cap indices. You've made it clear that they do not fully expose the risk. But you also stated that, with small caps, a good manager should beat the index - I assume for both risk and return. So I still find this to be a very intriguing area of investing; maybe worth a larger portion of my portfolio than most analysts would recommend.

Incidently, I've considered, and agree, with your point about SWPs. To the extent that DCA's advantage comes from a level dollar amount, SWPs should only maximize (pretax) return if you withdraw a level number of units. If you're lucky this will mimick your inflated needs over time; but most people do not have flexible enough cash flow requirements to follow through with this. Gummy's analysis would be interesting, but I'm also wondering what your alternative is.

Randy.

**Date:** 14-Nov-97 - 7:44 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** gummy

WHOOEE!!

Thanks Bylo 'n' Madelyn for the links!

Billions of Bytes

... the entire 20^{th} century world of investing!

... gotta get off this couch

... uh, can anyone remind me of what SWP means? __S__omekinda __W__ithdrawal __P__lan?

jd:

**risk**, *n. & v.t.* **1.** Hazard, chance of bad consequences, loss, etc. **2.** Expose to chance of injury or loss.

It's quite clear ... funds **A** and **B** have the same "risk". Right!

(One should ALWAYS change the meaning of a word when practising the art of obfuscation.)

**Date:** 18-Nov-97 - 3:13 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Randy

Thanks for the article, Bylo. I actually understood about 80% of it... scary! Here's some of my thoughts on it.

I especially liked the concept that the Sharpe Ratio (return per unit of risk) must be relative to a another alternative (another fund, a benchmark, cash, or the cost of borrowing) because you always go short in one asset to go long in another. I'll have to look through the Paltrak help screens to find out what basis they use for their Sharpe Ratios.

My question is: have you ever actually gone through a calculation like this to determine which investment and how much of it to buy?

Personally, I've been eyeballing it off a (historical) risk/return graph to make selections but that doesn't provide much help in determining allocations (whereas the Sharpe Ratio could).

One disturbing slant to this article is that he seems to prefer the *ex ante* Sharpe Ratio (based on expected rather than historical returns). I know the standard disclaimer about historical returns, but isn't a calculation based on market forcasts just another forcast with a mathematically amplified margin of error?

The other missing piece, of course, is correlations between markets. Can you point me to any data on this?

Randy.

There was also an article in the Financial Post a while back that provided a correlation matrix for Canadian and foreign asset classes. The article is no longer on the web, but here at least is the plagiarised matrix:

| TSE300 | NBCSC | S&P500 | EAFE | Em Mkt | SUB | WB |

TSE300 | 1.0 | | | | | | |

Nesbitt Burns Cdn Sm Cap | 0.89 | 1.0 | | | | | |

S&P 500 | 0.71 | 0.59 | 1.0 | | | | |

MSCI EAFE | 0.46 | 0.41 | 0.47 | 1.0 | | | |

Emerging Markets | 0.35 | 0.36 | 0.35 | 0.32 | 1.0 | | |

Scotia Universe Bond | 0.19 | 0.02 | 0.13 | 0.05 | -0.11 | 1.0 | |

World Bonds | -0.14 | -0.21 | 0.06 | 0.41 | -0.22 | 0.14 | 1.0 |

I agree with you that basing investment decisions on historical market data or on market projections are both problematic. The more I think about this the more I conclude that the safest approach is the time tested one of creating a balanced portfolio out of several broadly diversified, poorly correlated asset classes. Rather than agonizing on optimisation of returns vs. risks, perhaps the simplest solution is also the best, i.e. don't put all your eggs in one basket.

**Date:** 18-Nov-97 - 5:56 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Bylo N Laylow

*"Tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket." - Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha, 1605. *

*
"Behold, the fool saith, 'Put not all thine eggs in the one basket' - which is but a manner of saying, 'Scatter your money and attention;' but the wise man saith 'Put all your eggs in the one basket and - WATCH that basket.'" - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894.*

Vive la différence!

**Date:** 18-Nov-97 - 6:42 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** In Vancouver

It seems that most of the talk is centred around finding some "absolute" level of risk for funds when in fact risk is relative to the financial goals we set for our investment portfolios. For example, suppose we need a 10%/annum return to meet some financial goal 10 years in the future. If we just look at the absolute level of risk, it gives us absolutely no indication as to what probability we have of actually abtaining our financial goal. As such we need to look at the risk of the investment relative to what we need to achieve in order to get to our goal. If we invested in a money market fund, we get a low volatility on an absolute scale, but we are pretty much guaranteed not to meet our required goal of 10%/annum. As such, the money market fund is extremely risky with respect to our goal. An international growth fund on the other hand has a higher absolute level of risk but a lower risk relative to our goal because it actually has a chance of achieving the goal. This kind of approach is referred to as a "downside risk" approach and there are a few variations on the theme (downside deviation, ...). It is used quite a bit in pension management to assess the funding requirement risk of the portfolio/investments. The thing you must keep in mind is that different investments are good for different goals and have different risk profiles relative to each individual's needs.

Try this out for a good explanation:

"http://www.sortino.com/research-p.htm#Published Research Papers"

**Date:** 19-Nov-97 - 8:44 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Randy

Thanks again, Bylo (and gummy). Time for some number crunching.

Randy.

**Date:** 17-Dec-97 - 2:33 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** James

Is there a graph self-updatable that measures risk against performance of mutual funds? I saw one at the FP's computer recently, looked ggo. Each MF could be clicked on for asset breakdown etc James

**Date:** 17-Dec-97 - 9:31 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** confused

Maybe someone can help me out here. I thought the Fund Counsel's FCQ stripped the three best years out of the fund's fifteen year CAR (see Globe Feb 6, 1997). Have they pulled back on this because there are too few funds with fifteen year histories, or was the methodology in the Globe piece modified for the paper's fifteen year review?

For what its worth, I agree with that this technique unreasonably punishes a fund's upside. Fairness dictates that you strip out the worst year as well.

**Date:** 17-Dec-97 - 10:13 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** howie

Forget all that stuff you just read. If I have it, IT'S RISKY!

sorry...think I'll slink back over to the Quebec separation thread..

**Date:** 18-Dec-97 - 9:34 AM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** Bemused Lurker

Don't know how I missed this thread earlier, but I did.

Much earlier someone compared 2 different funds, with differing returns but the same standard deviations. As a reminder for the following thoughts,

fund 1 - 10% average return +/- 5% fund 2 - 25% average return +/- 5%

Which is riskier?

IMHO I would have to say that the return/risk ratio is much worse in fund 1. While the standard deviations are the same (in absolute numbers), their relative weight compared with the average return makes fund 1 a lot riskier.

Now for my question, is their a listing that is publicly available, that compares all funds using the same basis, rather than grouping funds by investment class.

My local paper provides an absolute gem of an item in volatility. It is determined only for each class, and is not a value but a placement in a range, sort of like a bell curve fit for marks. However, on a range of volatility from 1-9, out of 250+ funds, only 6 were rated with a volatility greater than 5. (Canadian Equity funds). I can't help but think that someone has screwed with the numbers; for what purpose? I leave it to you. Another problem is that in so doing, you have the following situation,

Altamira Equity - volatility - 3 Greenline Dividend Fund - volatility - 3 Spectrum Canadian Balanced - volatility - 3

etc, etc, etc.

I don't buy into this method for one instant. Unfortunately, several acquaintences (sp) don't do the work and take this as gospel. Just trying to set them straight - using facts.

BL

**Date:** 18-Dec-97 - 12:11 PM

**Subject:** RE: what is the best measure of risk for funds

**From:** jd

bl,

Fund 1 and fund 2 are identical in terms of risk, or std deviation. Std deviation is defined as "dispersion about the mean." The funds have different mean returns but identical dispersions about these means, hence, ito risk they are identical.

*IMHO I would have to say that the return/risk ratio is much worse in fund 1*

True, but you are looking at risk **and** return here, not risk. Clearly, fund 1 is the superior choice. It offers identical risk yet a higher return.

*Now for my question, is their a listing that is publicly available, that compares all funds using the same basis, rather than grouping funds by investment class.*

Have you looked up Portfolio Analytics' Paltrak software? It provides more statistical data than you will ever need. Among other things, it lists 3, 5, 10 and 15yr std deviations for all funds sold in Canada. They have a fully functional but outdated version of the Paltrak software available for d-load at their website. If you are into numbers I'd recommend this database.

Merry Christmas!

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