What is alpha finance

Alpha Finance

Alpha finance is an investments tool that deals with the study of how well the investment has yield. Alpha in finance compares the performance of the investment with the market index and also consider the massive return on that investment. The investment alpha is the relative excess or massive return of an investment to that of the market index return. Alpha is used for all types or any kinds of investment and can also be used to represents any mutual funds.

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The percentage which measures the performance of the funds compared to the market index is usually represented with a single number e.g. 4% worse and 2% better. An alpha of -4% means the market index return is way better than the investment return with 4% while the investment with 2% means the investment return is better than the market index return. So to conclude that any alpha with negative number means the investment has not performed well. The beta which studies the volatility or risk of any investment usually used with alpha finance together. When most economist or analyst talks about excess return or abnormal return, they are referring to alpha.

Alpha formula

Abnormal rate which is also referred to as alpha on a portfolio or security when the CAPM as one of the equilibrium model proposes what the excess security is like. CAPM is the capital asset pricing model which uses alpha coefficient as its parameter.  The CAPM aims in calculating the rate of return of the investment of the investor to compensate the level of the risk taken. So any alpha coefficient that has kits value less than 0 means that the investment is too risky to have a great return, alpha greater than 0 means the investment has greater return than the risk taken and the alpha coefficient that is equal to 0 has its return to be the same with the risk taken on the investment.

What is alpha finance

An example is when the investment return on an investment is 20% while the risk taken is 22%, the company actually has its alpha coefficient being less than 0.  Which makes the alpha to be negative. (20% which is the return – 22% which is the risk that is market index). But is the investment return happens to be 22% while the risk taken is 20%, this makes the alpha to be positive and alpha coefficient to be greater than 0. In a situation whereby the investment return is 20% and the risk on the investment which is usually market index to be 20%, the alpha percentage has its investment return to be equivalent to the market index and the alpha coefficient to be equal to 0.

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Alpha & Beta

There are differences between the alpha and beta but the main difference is that alpha calculate the investment return in compares to the market index while beta deals with the investment volatility

The five technical ratios which are beta, r-squared. Sharp ratio, standard deviation and alpha itself are all used in the statistical measurement in modern portfolio theory. All these indicators are aimed at making the investors to determine the return and the risk in the investment.

Things to consider in taking alpha

  • Alpha finance does not check or calculate the performance of the equity of the corporation but rather calculate the performance of the investment of the company. The calculation of alpha is by subtracting the total excess return of the investment from the market index. Alpha always work when the investment of similar assets are to be compared to see which one has yield more or excess return compared to the market index or benchmark income. So, the equity of any company is usually calculated separately and the excess return of the investment of that company is calculated separately using alpha this time.
  • You need to understand the calculations involved when generated alpha calculations are being used. To calculate an alpha, many market index of different class within the asset class are used. In some cases, in which there is no suitable pre-existing market index to be used, the advisory or the analyst may result to the use of algorithms and other models to get a market index to be compared with the excess investment return in the alpha finance calculation.
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Harish Yadav

Finance and market analyst and chief writer on howtofinance. Passionate to read books and articles on marketing and accounting. Also edits other articles and publish them here.

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