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Understanding Risk Adjusted Portfolio Performance

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A Vital Feedback Loop for any Medical Professional’s Investment Program

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

While recently visiting the beautiful Johns Hopkins University and Medical School in Baltimore Maryland, I realized that investment portfolio performance measurement — much like an annual physical exam in the Spring — is an important feedback loop to monitor progress towards the goals of the medical professional’s investment program.

Performance comparisons to market indices and/or peer groups are a useful part of this feedback loop, as long as they are considered in the context of the market environment and with the limitations of market index and manager database construction.  Inherent to performance comparisons is the reality that portfolios taking greater risk will tend to out-perform less risky investments during bullish phases of a market cycle, but are also more likely to under-perform during the bearish phase.  The reason for focusing on performance comparisons over a full market cycle is that the phases biasing results in favor of higher risk approaches can be balanced with less favorable environments for aggressive approaches to lessen/eliminate those biases.

THINK: The “flash crash” of March 2009, and the DJIA now hovering near 12,000 of  late.

The Biases

Can we eliminate the biases of the market environment by adjusting performance for the risk assumed by the portfolio?  While several interesting calculations have been developed to measure risk-adjusted performance, the unfortunate answer is that the biases of the market environment still tend to have an impact even after adjusting returns for various measures of risk.

http://www.amazon.com/Financial-Planning-Handbook-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763745790/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276795609&sr=1-1

Assessment

However, medical professionals and their advisors will have many different risk-adjusted return statistics presented to them, so understanding the Sharpe ratio, Treynor ratio, Jensen’s measure or alpha, Morningstar star ratings, etc. and their limitations should help to improve the decisions made from the performance measurement feedback loop.

And, these are discussed elsewhere on this ME-P.

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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