With 2018 ending on a rough note for managed futures, and mixed reports on 2019, it’s easy to forget why one would diversify into the asset class. It’s easy to forget about risk adjusted performance.
Enter the Calmar and the Mar Ratios. They measure return per unit of risk, with risk defined as the maximum drawdown (versus risk as volatility – Sharpe, downside volatility – Sortino, or average drawdown – Sterling). The max drawdown, remember – is the most drawdown or loss experienced over all time. In the case of CTA’s, maximum drawdown is reported on a month to month basis. Compound Rate of Return is return over the span of a time frame of your choice (6 mo, 1yr, 10yr). So the formula for MAR is simply dividing the Compound ROR by Max DD.
MAR = (Compound ROR) / (Max DD)
For you newcomers out there, the CALMAR ratio is slightly different. Some assume the MAR ratio refers to a shortening of the CALMAR name, but there is a key difference. The MAR ratio usually analyzes data from the inception of the program (although it can easily be used to analyze any period within a track record), whereas the CALMAR ratio typically analyzes a shorter time period, usually 36 months of data.
CALMAR = (36mo Compound ROR) / (Max DD past 36mo)
At first glance you may think there wouldn’t be much of a difference between the two risk adjusted metrics, but all we need to do is consider the stats from our old friend the S&P 500 to see how different these metrics can be:
(Disclaimer: Past Performance in not necessarily indicative to future results.)
Looking just at the MAR, on what we will generously call ‘since inception’ data (knowing the S&P 500 has been around a lot longer than that), Managed Futures is nearly 3 times better than the stock market in terms of risk adjusted returns. But flip the period to just the past 36 months – and stocks are almost 13 times better than managed futures in terms of risk adjusted performance. Which is right, which is wrong? The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. If you have a long investment timeline and aren’t interested in outperforming this benchmark or that in any one year – the MAR is likely better for you. If you are more of a ‘what have you done for me lately’ type of person – then the CALMAR might suit you more.
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.
Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.
Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.
Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.
Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.
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