Jensen's Alpha

Jensen's Alpha stands out as a crucial metric used to assess the risk-adjusted returns of an investment portfolio. Named after Michael Jensen, this performance measure evaluates an investment's excess return compared to its expected return based on the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM).

What is Jensen's Alpha?

Jensen's Alpha is a tool that helps investors determine whether a portfolio manager has outperformed or underperformed in generating returns, considering the level of risk taken. It evaluates investment performance by examining the returns obtained above or below the expected returns based on the portfolio's systematic risk.

Key Components of Jensen's Alpha

  1. Expected Return: Calculated using the Capital Asset Pricing Model, which considers the risk-free rate, market return, and the portfolio's beta (systematic risk).
  2. Actual Return: The real return earned by the portfolio over a given period.
  3. Jensen's Alpha Calculation: It's the difference between the actual return and the expected return based on the portfolio's risk level.

How to Use Jensen's Alpha

  1. Assess the investment portfolio's returns and risk level.
  2. Calculate the expected return using CAPM.
  3. Determine the excess return (or shortfall) using Jensen's Alpha formula.
  4. Evaluate whether the portfolio manager has outperformed the expected return, indicating skill in managing risk or generating excess returns.

Benefits of Jensen's Alpha

  • Provides insight into a portfolio manager's performance beyond just comparing returns to a benchmark.
  • Evaluates risk-adjusted returns, assisting investors in identifying skilled portfolio managers.
  • Helps in making informed decisions about investment strategies based on the risk and return relationship.


Understanding and utilizing Jensen's Alpha is integral in the world of investment analysis. This metric helps investors evaluate the skill of portfolio managers in generating returns in line with the risks taken, providing a more comprehensive view of investment performance.

In summary, Jensen's Alpha serves as a valuable tool for investors seeking to assess the risk-adjusted performance of their investment portfolios and make informed decisions regarding their financial strategies.