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Strabo Glossary: Investment Performance

Investment Performance

Investment performance refers to the measurement of how well an investment or portfolio has performed over a specific period of time. It is a crucial metric for investors and financial professionals to evaluate the success or effectiveness of their investment decisions. Investment performance is typically assessed in terms of returns, and several key metrics are used to gauge performance:


  1. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is a fundamental measure of investment performance. It calculates the gain or loss on an investment relative to its initial cost. ROI is expressed as a percentage and is calculated using the formula:

    ROI = [(Current Value of Investment - Initial Cost of Investment) / Initial Cost of Investment] x 100

    A positive ROI indicates a profitable investment, while a negative ROI represents a loss.
  2. Annualized Return: This metric calculates the average annual return on an investment over a specified period, considering compounding. It is often used for investments that are held for multiple years. Common annualized return measures include the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and Average Annual Return.
  3. Total Return: Total return takes into account not only the capital gains or losses from an investment but also any income generated from it, such as dividends or interest. It provides a more comprehensive view of an investment's performance.
  4. Risk-Adjusted Return: This metric considers the level of risk associated with an investment. Common risk-adjusted return measures include the Sharpe Ratio and the Treynor Ratio. These ratios assess whether an investment's returns adequately compensate for the risk taken.
  5. Benchmark Comparison: Investors often compare the performance of their investments against a relevant benchmark, such as a stock market index (e.g., S&P 500) or a specific industry index. This helps determine whether the investment outperformed or underperformed the market.
  6. Time-Weighted vs. Money-Weighted Return: Time-weighted return accounts for the impact of cash flows in and out of the investment, making it suitable for evaluating the performance of investment managers. Money-weighted return, on the other hand, considers the timing and size of cash flows made by the investor.
  7. Relative Performance: Relative performance analysis involves comparing an investment or portfolio's performance against a peer group or similar investments. This helps investors assess whether their choices are superior or inferior to alternatives.
  8. Drawdown: Drawdown measures the peak-to-trough decline in an investment's value during a specific period. It helps investors understand the potential downside risk associated with an investment.
  9. Volatility: Volatility measures the degree of variation in an investment's returns over time. Lower volatility generally indicates lower risk, while higher volatility suggests greater uncertainty.


Investment performance evaluation is a critical aspect of financial planning and decision-making. It helps investors make informed choices, assess the effectiveness of their investment strategies, and set realistic financial goals. Keep in mind that past performance does not guarantee future results, and various factors, including economic conditions and market fluctuations, can impact investment performance.

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