# Treynor Ratio - definition & overview

Contents

## What is Treynor Ratio and what is it used for?

Treynor Ratio is a performance metric measuring excess return per unit of systemic risk similar to the Sharpe ratio but using beta instead of standard deviation. Higher ratios indicate better risk-adjusted returns.

In the world of small businesses, particularly those in Australia, the Treynor Ratio is a critical financial metric that can provide a wealth of insights. This ratio, named after its creator Jack Treynor, is a performance metric for determining the returns earned more than the risk-free rate per each unit of market risk. It is a vital tool for small business owners and investors alike, as it provides a measure of risk-adjusted performance of an investment portfolio.

The Treynor Ratio is often compared to the Sharpe Ratio, another popular performance metric. However, while the Sharpe Ratio considers total risk, the Treynor Ratio focuses on systematic risk alone. This distinction is crucial for small businesses, as it allows them to evaluate their investment decisions in the context of the broader market, rather than just their individual business.

## Understanding the Treynor Ratio

At its core, the Treynor Ratio is a measure of how well an investment has compensated its investors for the risk taken. It does this by comparing the investment's excess return (that is, its return above the risk-free rate) to its beta, which is a measure of its market risk. The higher the Treynor Ratio, the better the investment has performed on a risk-adjusted basis.

For small businesses, understanding the Treynor Ratio can be particularly beneficial. This is because small businesses often have limited resources and therefore need to make sure that their investments are yielding the highest possible returns for the level of risk they are taking on. By using the Treynor Ratio, small businesses can compare different investment options and choose the one that offers the best risk-adjusted performance.

### Calculating the Treynor Ratio

The Treynor Ratio is calculated by subtracting the risk-free rate from the portfolio's returns, and then dividing this by the portfolio's beta. The risk-free rate is typically the return on a government bond, while the portfolio's returns are the total returns earned by the portfolio over a given period. The beta is a measure of the portfolio's sensitivity to market movements, with a beta of 1 indicating that the portfolio moves in line with the market.

It's important to note that the Treynor Ratio is a relative measure, meaning it is most useful when comparing different investments or portfolios. A high Treynor Ratio indicates that an investment has provided good returns for the level of risk taken, while a low Treynor Ratio suggests that the investment's returns have not adequately compensated for the risk.

### Interpreting the Treynor Ratio

When interpreting the Treynor Ratio, it's important to keep in mind that a higher ratio is generally better. This indicates that the investment has provided a higher return for each unit of market risk. However, it's also important to consider the context. For example, a high Treynor Ratio may not be as impressive if the overall market has been performing well, as this could inflate the investment's returns.

Similarly, a low Treynor Ratio does not necessarily mean that an investment is bad. It could simply mean that the investment has a high beta, indicating that it is more sensitive to market movements. In this case, the investment may still be a good choice if the investor is comfortable with the level of risk.

## Applications of the Treynor Ratio in Small Businesses

The Treynor Ratio can be a powerful tool for small businesses in a variety of ways. Firstly, it can be used to evaluate the performance of the business's investments. By comparing the Treynor Ratios of different investments, the business can identify which ones are providing the best risk-adjusted returns and adjust their investment strategy accordingly.

Secondly, the Treynor Ratio can be used to assess the business's overall financial health. A high Treynor Ratio could indicate that the business is effectively managing its risks and generating good returns, while a low Treynor Ratio could suggest that the business needs to reassess its risk management strategies.

### Investment Evaluation

One of the main uses of the Treynor Ratio in small businesses is for investment evaluation. By comparing the Treynor Ratios of different investments, the business can identify which ones are providing the best risk-adjusted returns. This can be particularly useful for small businesses, as they often have limited resources and need to ensure that their investments are as effective as possible.

For example, consider a small business that has invested in two different stocks. By calculating the Treynor Ratios of these stocks, the business can determine which one has provided the best returns for the level of risk taken. This can help the business make more informed investment decisions in the future.

### Financial Health Assessment

Another important application of the Treynor Ratio in small businesses is for assessing the business's overall financial health. A high Treynor Ratio could indicate that the business is effectively managing its risks and generating good returns, which could be a positive sign for potential investors or lenders.

On the other hand, a low Treynor Ratio could suggest that the business is not managing its risks effectively or is not generating adequate returns. In this case, the business may need to reassess its risk management strategies or consider other ways to improve its financial performance.

## Limitations of the Treynor Ratio

While the Treynor Ratio can be a valuable tool for small businesses, it's important to be aware of its limitations. One of the main limitations is that it only considers systematic risk, or market risk. This means it does not take into account the specific risks associated with an individual investment or business, such as operational risk or credit risk.

Another limitation is that the Treynor Ratio assumes that the relationship between risk and return is linear. In reality, this relationship can be more complex, with higher levels of risk not necessarily leading to higher returns. Therefore, while the Treynor Ratio can provide useful insights, it should not be used in isolation and should be complemented with other financial metrics and analysis.

### Systematic Risk Only

The Treynor Ratio only considers systematic risk, or market risk. This is the risk that affects all businesses and investments in the market, such as changes in interest rates or economic conditions. While this can be a useful measure for comparing different investments, it does not take into account the specific risks associated with an individual investment or business.

For example, a small business may have a high Treynor Ratio, indicating that it is providing good returns for the level of market risk. However, this does not necessarily mean that the business is a good investment, as it could be facing significant operational or credit risks that are not reflected in the Treynor Ratio.

### Linear Risk-Return Relationship

Another limitation of the Treynor Ratio is that it assumes a linear relationship between risk and return. This means it assumes that higher levels of risk will always lead to higher returns. In reality, this relationship can be more complex, with higher levels of risk not necessarily leading to higher returns.

This can be particularly relevant for small businesses, which often face a variety of risks that can impact their returns. Therefore, while the Treynor Ratio can provide useful insights into the risk-adjusted performance of an investment, it should not be used in isolation and should be complemented with other financial metrics and analysis.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, the Treynor Ratio is a valuable tool for small businesses, providing a measure of risk-adjusted performance that can help inform investment decisions and assess financial health. However, like any financial metric, it has its limitations and should be used in conjunction with other tools and analysis.

By understanding the Treynor Ratio and how to use it effectively, small businesses can make more informed decisions and better manage their risks, ultimately leading to greater success and growth. So, let the Treynor Ratio be your guide in your journey towards achieving your business goals and aspirations.