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Investments, Risk and Return


Author: Awais Ahmad (comsian027@gmail.com)

Investment:

Investment may be defined as an activity that commits funds in any financial/physical form in the present with an expectation of receiving additional return in the future. The expectation brings with it a probability that the quantum of return may vary from a minimum to maximum. This possibility of variation in the actual return is known as Investment Risk. Thus every investment involves a Return and Risk.

Investment is an activity that is undertaken by those who have Savings. Savings can be defined as the excess of Income over Expenditure. Two important characteristics of Investment are Return and Risk.

Return:

Every Investment has and expectation of Return, which is the margin earned by investor in future by investing at present. The margin earned reflects the concept of Time Value of Money, which describes that a Dollar currently held will be less worth tomorrow. Investors take advantage from this saving, which is called Return (denoted by kor r)

Risk:

Risk is the chance of uncertainty that may rise after investment. It is the event that may arise by affecting the Return of the Investment. Every investor should forecast the Return and Risk while investing and should keep into account all possible events that may occur in future. It is denoted by d and is the Standard Deviation, which reflects the deviation from the Expected Rate of Return.

The formulae for Risk and Return of and Investments are:

Relationship between Risk and Return:

Risk and Return have positive relation to each other (Direct Relationship):

Risk µ Return

The relationship shows that if an investment is tied with high expectation of Return, it will have high Risk and vice versa. This relationship is also shown in the diagram:

Types of Risk:

There are various types of Risk, among which, following are the most important to describe:

  1. 1.      Business Risk:

Business Risk is one which is tied to a particular business. Such risk arises when the investor is not sure whether the business will successful or not in which he/she has invested.

  1. 2.      Financial Risk:

Financial Risk is the additional risk placed on the common stockholders as a result of the decisions to finance with debt. The use of debt, also called Financial Leverage also concentrates the firm’s business risk on its stockholders. Financial Risk arises, when to decide whether the firm should be Levered (50% debt and a portion of equity) or Unlevered (All Equity). In this way, it makes the Capital Structure of a firm.

  1. 3.      Country Risk:

Country Risk is one that arises from a particular country. A country’s environment may be favourable for investors, who want to invest in that country. Investors need to forecast such risk before making the investment decision.

  1. 4.      Diversifiable Risk/Unsystematic/Idiosyncratic:

The part of a stock’s risk, that can be minimized/neglected is called Diversifiable Risk. Such Risk is caused by some random events like lawsuits, strikes, successful and unsuccessful marketing programs etc. This type of risk can be minimized while investing in multiple stocks; a phenomenon known as Diversification Principle.

  1. 5.      Non-diversifiable/Systematic/Market Risk:

The part of stock’s risk, that cannot be minimized or neglected is known as Non-diversifiable Risk. This type of risk stems from factors that systematically affect most firms; such as war, inflation, recessions and high interest rates. Such risk remains constant even when investing in multiple stocks. It is measured in terms of Beta (β).

  1. 6.      Inflation Risk:

Technically speaking, this type of risk is a subtype of Systematic Risk. This risk stems from variation in inflation rate. When inflation rate increases, it reduces the Real Interest Rate and vice versa. More detail about the relationship between Inflation Rate and Real Interest Rate will be explained in related articles.

  1. 7.      Interest Rate Risk:

Interest Rate Risk can be said to be a subtype of Systematic Risk. This type of risk arises with the fluctuation on Interest Rate in market. The more is the market Interest Rate, the more will be Interest Rate Risk tied to a particular stock (will be explained in later articles).

  1. 8.      Exchange Rate Risk:

Exchange Rate Risk stems from changes in Exchange Rate or currency fluctuations. The more is the currency fluctuation in market, the more will be the Exchange Rate Risk for and Investor.

  1. 9.      Liquidity/Marketability Risk:

Liquidity Risks generally arise when one business acquires another business. Liquidity refers to a condition when a firm is not generating enough profit from its operations, that can meet the overall cost of a business. By doing so, investors of one organization purchase the stocks of Liquidating Firm, but are not sure whether their decision to purchase the stocks of such firm will benefit at a future date or not. Such uncertain factors are called Liquidity Risk, when combine together.

  1. 10.  Political Risk:

Political Risk arise from the political environment of an economy. If a country’s political environment is uncertain and unfavourable, the investors are called facing Political Risk while investing in such country.

  1. 11.  Stand-alone Risk:

If an investor has only one investment, the risk tied to that particular investment is known as Stand-alone Risk. If an investor has only one investment, it is highly risky for him/her, as he/she cannot compensate his/her loss from alternative stocks, in case the stock hald by him/her is losing its value.

  1. 12.  Portfolio Risk:

If an investor has invested in multiple stocks/securities, the risk tied to all of those stocks/securities (combined together) is called Portfolio Risk. If a security defaults, the investor still has a chance to earn profit from other stocks/securities held by him/her. Portfolio Risk can be measured by the following formula.

References:

Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management (handouts)

Lectures by Mr. Wasim Anwar

Financial Management – Theory & Practice; 10e by Eugene F. Brigham & Michael C. Ehrhardt

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PROBABILITY OF A FAIR COIN (Experimental Proof)


Author: Awais Ahmad (comsian027@gmail.com)

PROVING THE PROBIBILITY OF A FAIR COIN TO BE 0.5 OR 50%

Question: Prove with experiment that the Probability of a fair coin is 0.5 or 50%.

Experiment:

Step 1: Take a fair coin and toss it 200 times and record each observation and the outcomes thereof. The following observations were recorded by tossing a fair coin 200 times:

For the time being, for our convenience, we have classified the observations of the experiment with a difference of 25.

Here:

Head of the Fair Coin = N

Tail of the Fair Coin = M

As we see as per Table, First column shows the number of observations taken from the experiment, classified with the difference of 25. Second column shows the appearance of Head (N) or Tail (M) during the experiment.

Step 2: Now we perform calculations of Probability in further details by the table given below:

Colum 1 of Table shows the Number of Experiments’ Lower and Upper Limits (The data of 200 observations is classified with a difference of 5 for detailed analysis). Second column shows outcomes of appearing Head (N) or Tail (M), and Cumulative Outcomes. TOTAL Colum shows the number of experiments during a particular time. Next column shows the probabilities of appearing N or M of the coin and their Cumulative Probabilities. These probabilities are calculated by the following formula:

P (N) = N / (TOTAL)

P (M) = M / (TOTAL)

Step 3: Then P (N) and P (M) showed the cumulative probabilities of N and M respectively. The point should be noted that, before experiment performed, the Probabilities of both N and M were Zero. Last column shows the number of Cumulative Observations/Outcomes of the experiment. Last Row TOTAL showed that the experiment was repeated for 200 times, among which 98 times, N appeared and M appeared for 102 times.

Now we plot these values on the line graph, and can show the probabilities of N, M and both N & M on the same plot area.

Conclusion:

From the experiment Data and Graphical Representations, we can see that the Probabilities of Head (N) and Tail (M) are about equal to 0.5 (50%) when we repeat the same experiment for 200 times. So it is proved that the Probability of a fair coin is 0.5 (50%).

Note: If the same experiment is provided for more than 200 times, we can get more accurate results.

References:

Question from Statistics for Business and Economics – by David R. Anderson (Author), Dennis J. Sweeney (Author), Thomas A. Williams (Author), Jeffrey D. Camm (Author), James James J. Cochran (Author)

Experiment on Fair Coin

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL ASSETS


Author: Awais Ahmad (comsian027@gmail.com)

An efficient and strong Financial System leads to the Economic Development of a nation. A country is said to be economically developed, when it has strong Financial Markets and competent Financial Intermediaries.

One of the essential criteria for the assessment of Economic Development is the quality and quantity of assets in a nation at a specific time. These assets can be classified based on their distinct characteristics. Classification of Assets is shown through a diagram chart (Fig. 2):

As we are concerned with Financial Markets, we will focus on Financial Assets.

Financial Assets:

In macro sense, Financial Assets are regulated by the government of an economy. Financial Assets smoothen the trade and transactions of an economy and give the society a standard measure of valuation. Financial Assets also represent the current/future value of physically and intangibly held assets. They show a right on another asset and include Currency Instruments (Cash, Foreign Currency etc.) and Claim Instruments (Debentures, Shares, Deposits, Unit Certificates, Tax Saving Investment etc.)

Properties of Financial Assets:

The following are the properties of Financial Assets, which distinguish them from Physical and Intangible Assets:

1.      Currency:

Financial Assets are exchange documents with an attached value. Their values are dominated in currency units determined by the government of an economy.

2.      Divisibility

Financial Instruments are divisible into smaller units. The total value is represented in terms of divisions that can be handled in a trade. The divisibility characteristic of Financial Assets enables all players, small or big, to participate in the market.

3.      Convertibility

Financial Assets are convertible into any other type of asset. This characteristic of convertibility gives flexibility to financial instruments. Financial Instruments need not necessary be converted into another form of Financial Asset; they can also be converted into Physical/Tangible and Intangible Assets.

4.      Reversibility

This implies that a financial instrument can be exchanged for any other asset and logically, the so formed asset may be transferred back into the original financial instrument.

5.      Liquidity

Liquidity implies that the present need for other forms of asset prevails over holding the financial instrument. The financial asset can be exchanged for currency with another market participant who does not have immediate cash need, but expects future benefits.

6.      Cash Flow

The holding of the financial instrument results in a stream of cash flows that are the benefits accruing to the holder of the financial instrument. However, a financial instrument by itself does not create a cash flow.

References:

Financial Management – Theory & Practice; 10e, by Eugene F. Brigham & Michael C. Ehrhardt

Management of Banking and Financial Services – 2e, by Padmalatha Suresh & Justin Paul

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FINANCIAL SYSTEM


Author: Awais Ahmad (comsian027@gmail.com)

The Financial System of any country has two important segments:

  1. Financial Markets                                                        2. Financial Intermediaries

1.      Financial Marktes:

A Financial Market is a place/system, where Financial Instruments are exchanged. Such markets enhance the unique characteristics of Financial Instruments (Stocks, Bonds, Mortgages, Auto Loans, and Certificates of Deposits etc.)

2.      Financial Intermediaries:

Financial Intermediaries create assets out of the surpluses of the economy. They ensure liquidity of savings by surplus units. They also reduce information costs, mitigate and evaluate risk tied to the surplus units.

The Prime objective of Financial System is to channel Surpluses arising in the economy through the activities of households, corporate houses and the government into deficit units in the economy, again in the form of households, corporate houses and the government. However, this flow of funds differ between Banking Institutions and Non-banking Financial Institutions in a Financial System. This flow of funds through Financial System, and the difference between the two is shown as in Fig. 1:

References:

1. Financial Management – Theory & Practice; 10e by Eugene F. Brigham & Michael C. Ehrhardt

2. Management of Banking & Financial Services – 2e by Padmalatha Suresh & Justin Paul

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