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What is a ‘Benchmark’?

Benchmark is a set of standards that need to be met in the performance of an investment manager or the performance of a security mutual fund. Both of these categories are checked and graded against the standard of the benchmark.

To evaluate the overall performance of any investment aspect, one needs to make sure that it is being checked against an appropriate set of benchmark and the same benchmark should apply to other investors in the market.

When it comes to the financial field of businesses, the investors are given a set of indexes that can then be used to gauge the performance of any given economic field. For instance, the individuals who deal mainly in mutual funds tend to use the Lipper index as the Lipper index has the data of at least 30 large mutual funds that belong to different types of specific categories.

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Hence if a benchmark is set, it makes it easier for the investor to establish a coherent way of communication with the portfolio manager. The process of communication will allow both the people to decide upon the goals that they are trying to achieve through the investment they are planning to make.

The portfolio manager will make sure that whatever type of decision he is planning to take is taken by keeping the goal of the investor in mind. The benchmark that is being set needs to be decided upon by keeping in mind the goal and aim of the investor.


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Understanding the concept of Benchmark in Detail

The benchmark that is decided upon needs to highlight the risk that the investor is willing to take on the amount that he is planning to invest. It should also mention the amount being invested so that the performance can be checked against the benchmark.

The benchmark also tends to signify the nature of the portfolio that the investor has as every portfolio is different from one another. Hence in some portfolio’s driving a benchmark might be difficult to achieve or determine, an example of it would be the real estate securities.

The way managers treat benchmarks varies. Some of them might take it seriously and will work to beat it while others often take so much of an incentive that it can force the manager to take unwanted risks with the portfolio.

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