Published on: 22 May, 2023 16:14

  • The Treynor Ratio is a performance metric for mutual funds, measuring returns earned above a risk-free investment per unit of market risk.
  • Advantages include risk-adjusted performance evaluation, simplicity, and usefulness for diversified portfolios.
  • Disadvantages involve ignoring unsystematic risk, dependence on beta accuracy, and lack of consideration for current market conditions.
  • The Treynor Ratio is a valuable tool for informed investment decisions but should not be used in isolation.


In the world of mutual fund investments, there are several metrics and ratios that investors use to evaluate the performance of their investments. One such important metric is the Treynor Ratio. Named after Jack Treynor, a pioneer in the field of quantitative investment management, the Treynor Ratio is a performance metric that measures returns earned in excess of that which could have been earned on a risk-free investment per each unit of market risk.

Understanding the Treynor Ratio

The Treynor Ratio is calculated by subtracting the risk-free rate from the portfolio's returns and then dividing the result by the portfolio's beta. The risk-free rate is the return on an investment with zero risk, such as a government bond. Beta, on the other hand, measures a fund's sensitivity to market movements. A higher beta indicates that the fund is more volatile than the market, while a lower beta means it is less volatile.

Advantages of the Treynor Ratio

Risk-adjusted Performance: The Treynor Ratio provides a risk-adjusted measure of return. It helps investors understand how much risk was taken to achieve the returns. This is particularly useful for comparing funds with different risk levels.

Easy to Understand: For a layman, the Treynor Ratio is relatively easy to understand. It simply tells you how much return you're getting for each unit of risk you're taking.

Useful for Diversified Portfolios: The Treynor Ratio is particularly useful for diversified portfolios, as it considers only systematic risk (market risk) and not unsystematic risk (specific to individual securities).


Disadvantages of the Treynor Ratio

Ignores Unsystematic Risk: The Treynor Ratio only considers market risk and ignores unsystematic risk. This can be misleading for non-diversified or sector-specific funds.

Dependence on Beta: The ratio's effectiveness depends on the accuracy of the beta used. If the beta is not accurate, the Treynor Ratio can give misleading results.

No Consideration of Current Market Conditions: The Treynor Ratio does not take into account current market conditions. It assumes that the future will be like the past, which is not always the case.


Numerical Example

Let's consider an example to understand this better. Suppose we have two mutual funds, Fund A and Fund B. Fund A has a return of 15%, a beta of 1.2, and the risk-free rate is 5%. Fund B has a return of 12%, a beta of 0.8, and the same risk-free rate.

The Treynor Ratio for Fund A would be (15%-5%)/1.2 = 8.33. For Fund B, it would be (12%-5%)/0.8 = 8.75. Even though Fund A has higher returns, Fund B has a higher Treynor Ratio, indicating it provides better risk-adjusted returns.

Empirical Evidence: Indian Examples

In the Indian context, let's consider the example of two popular mutual funds - HDFC Equity Fund and ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund. As per data from April 2023, HDFC Equity Fund has a return of 12%, a beta of 1.1, and a risk-free rate is 6%. ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund has a return of 10%, a beta of 0.9, and the same risk-free rate.

The Treynor Ratio for HDFC Equity Fund would be (12%-6%)/1.1 = 5.45. For ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund,it would be (10%-6%)/0.9 = 4.44. Despite having a lower return, HDFC Equity Fund has a higher Treynor Ratio, indicating it provides better risk-adjusted returns.


In conclusion, the Treynor Ratio is a valuable tool for investors to evaluate the risk-adjusted performance of mutual funds. It provides a simple, easy-to-understand measure of how much return an investor is getting for each unit of market risk taken. However, like any financial metric, it has its limitations and should not be used in isolation. Investors should consider other factors such as the fund's objectives, investment strategy, and the investor's own risk tolerance and investment goals.

Remember, investing in mutual funds involves risks, and it's important to do your homework before making any investment decisions. The Treynor Ratio is just one tool in your toolkit. Use it wisely, and it can help you make more informed investment decisions.

In the end, the key to successful investing is not just about picking the right funds, but also understanding the metrics that drive their performance. The Treynor Ratio, with its focus on risk-adjusted returns, is a valuable addition to any investor's toolkit. So, the next time you're evaluating mutual funds, don't just look at the returns. Consider the risk too, and use the Treynor Ratio to help you make a more informed decision.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as investment advice and should not be relied upon as such. Before making any investment decision, you should consider your own financial situation, risk tolerance, and investment goals, and consult with a qualified financial advisor. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and all investments carry the risk of loss. The author and publisher of this post are not responsible for any decisions made based on the information provided herein.

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