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The impact of downside risk on risk-adjusted performance of mutual funds in the Euronext markets


  • Auke Plantinga

    (University of Groningen)

  • Franks Sortino

    (Pension Research Institute)

  • Robert van der Meer

    (University of Groningen)


Many performance measures, such as the classic Sharpe ratio have difficulty in evaluating the performance of mutual funds with skewed return distributions. Common causes for skewness are the use of options in the portfolio or superior market timing skills of the portfolio manager. In this article we examine to what extent downside risk and the upside potential ratio can be used to evaluate skewed return distributions. In order to accomplish this goal, we first show the relation between the risk preferences of the investor and the risk- adjusted performance measure. We conclude that it is difficult to interpret differences in the outcomes of risk-adjusted performance measures exclusively as differences in forecasting skills of portfolio managers. We illustrate this with an example of a simulation study of a protective put strategy. We show that the Sharpe ratio leads to incorrect conclusions in the case of protective put strategies. On the other hand, the upside potential ratio leads to correct conclusions. Finally, we apply downside risk and the upside potential ratio in the process of selecting a mutual fund from a sample of mutual funds in the Euronext stock markets. The rankings appear similar, which can be attributed to the absence of significant skewness in the sample. However, find that the remaining differences can be quite significant for individual fund managers, and that these differences can be attributed to skewness. Therefore, we prefer to use the UPR as an alternative to the Sharpe ratio, as it gives a more adequate evaluation of the use of options and forecasting skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Auke Plantinga & Franks Sortino & Robert van der Meer, 2004. "The impact of downside risk on risk-adjusted performance of mutual funds in the Euronext markets," Finance 0407016, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0407016
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leif Andersen & Jesper Andreasen, 2000. "Jump-Diffusion Processes: Volatility Smile Fitting and Numerical Methods for Option Pricing," Review of Derivatives Research, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 231-262, October.
    2. Mark Joshi & Jochen Theis, 2002. "Bounding Bermudan swaptions in a swap-rate market model," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(5), pages 370-377.
    3. L. C. G. Rogers, 2002. "Monte Carlo valuation of American options," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 271-286.
    4. Peter Carr & Helyette Geman, 2002. "The Fine Structure of Asset Returns: An Empirical Investigation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(2), pages 305-332, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masaki Mori & Ming Zhang, 2006. "Foreign Real Estate Security Investments for Japanese Investors," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 9(1), pages 1-26.
    2. Karyl Leggio & Donald Lien, 2003. "An empirical examination of the effectiveness of dollar-cost averaging using downside risk performance measures," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 27(2), pages 211-223, June.

    More about this item


    Downside risk; mutual funds; performance measurement; risk preference; asymmetric return distributions;

    JEL classification:

    • G - Financial Economics

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