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Return on Equity (ROE)


Return on Equity (ROE) is a financial ratio used to measure a company’s profitability in relation to its equity. It is calculated by dividing net income by shareholder’s equity. Essentially, ROE identifies how well a company is able to generate income from its equity investments.


The phonetics of the keyword “Return on Equity (ROE)” is: Return: /rɪˈtɜrn/on: /ɑn/Equity: /ˈɛkwɪti/ROE: /roʊ/Please note: These are in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) which is commonly used for phonetic transcriptions.

Key Takeaways

1. Definition and Usage of ROE: Return on Equity (ROE) is a financial ratio that measures the profitability of a company in terms of how effectively it uses its own equity. It’s calculated by dividing net income by shareholders’ equity. The relation between these two elements gives us a critical financial insight into a business’s management efficiency.

2. Importance for Investors: ROE has great significance for investors as it provides insights into a company’s ability to generate profits using its shareholders’ equity. Subsequently, it allows them to compare the profitability of different companies in the same sector leading to better investment decisions. Higher ROE indicates better performance and financial health, presenting an attractive investment proposition.

3. Considerations and Limitations: Despite its usefulness, ROE has its limitations – it should not be used in isolation. Companies with high financial leverage may have a high ROE due to higher debt, not necessarily better operational efficiency. Furthermore, ROE does not account for the company’s growth prospects or the return to be generated in the future. Therefore, it’s important to use ROE in conjunction with other financial metrics and ratios for a complete analysis.


Return on Equity (ROE) is a crucial financial metric in business as it measures the financial return on the equity invested by the shareholders. It plays an essential role in equity valuation by helping investors to distinguish between efficient and inefficient management of companies. It highlights a company’s profitability and the efficiency with which it uses its funds. A higher ROE indicates that the company generates more profit for each dollar of equity, signifying optimal use of resources and attractive returns for shareholders. Hence, investors often evaluate ROE to select potential investment opportunities. In essence, ROE serves as a key indicator of corporate management’s effectiveness and a company’s potential attractiveness to investors.


Return on Equity (ROE) is a significant gauge in the business realm, offering insights into how effectively a company utilizes shareholders’ equity to generate profits. ROE is an incredibly important tool because it helps investors and analysts in understanding the profit-generating capacity of a company. Ultimately, ROE can serve as an indicator for future growth and profitability, which often transfers into increased investor interest and buoyant share prices. It delineates the relationship between the total net income of an enterprise and the equity capital introduced and held by the shareholders.Furthermore, ROE assists in making crucial comparisons across industries. By assessing the ROEs of different businesses within the same sector, one can gain more profound insights into which companies are more efficient at turning equity into profit. Therefore, a higher ROE is generally seen as a positive sign. However, it’s crucial to comprehend that ROE should not be used in isolation. It should always be viewed in combination with other financial metrics to provide a holistic and contextual understanding of a company’s financial performance.


1. Apple Inc: In 2020, Apple reported a net income of $57.41 billion and shareholders’ equity of $65.34 billion. Calculating its ROE would entail dividing its net income ($57.41 billion) by its shareholders’ equity ($65.34 billion), and the result, multiplied by 100, would be Apple’s ROE for that year, which is approximately 88%. This high ROE suggests that Apple is generating a high return on the equity.2. Goldman Sachs: In 2020, Goldman Sachs had a net income of $9.46 billion and shareholder equity of $90.27 billion. Dividing $9.46 billion by $90.27 billion and then multiplying by 100, the resulting ROE is about 10.48%. This signifies that Goldman Sachs was able to generate a return of 10.48% on the money invested by shareholders. 3. Amazon Inc.: In 2019, Amazon’s net profit was approximately $11.59 billion and the equity held by shareholders was about $43 billion. By dividing the net profit by shareholder’s equity, Amazon’s ROE for that year was about 27%. This means that the company generated a 27% profit on every dollar invested. Remember, a high ROE indicates that the company is using its investors’ funds effectively. However, comparing the ROE across industries is not always effective since some industries require higher initial investments compared to others.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Return on Equity (ROE)?

Return on Equity (ROE) is a financial ratio that measures a company’s profitability in relation to shareholder equity. It essentially shows how effectively a company is using its equity to generate profits.

How is ROE calculated?

ROE is calculated by dividing the company’s net income by its shareholder’s equity. It’s usually expressed as a percentage.

What does a higher ROE indicate?

A higher ROE generally indicates a company’s efficiency at generating profits from every unit of shareholders’ equity, thereby demonstrating better management of resources.

What is considered a good ROE?

A ‘good’ ROE depends on the industry and other factors, but as a rule of thumb, a ROE that is greater than 10% is typically considered good.

Can the ROE be negative? What does that mean?

Yes, the ROE can be negative. This occurs when a company incurs a net loss. A negative ROE indicates that the company is losing money and potentially indicates financial instability.

If two companies have the same ROE, are they equally successful?

Not necessarily. While the ROE is a useful measure of company profitability, it is important to consider other factors as well. These include the company’s overall financial health, the market it operates in, its growth prospects, and other financial metrics.

How can a company improve its ROE?

A company can improve its ROE by increasing its net income, reducing its equity, or a combination of both. This can be achieved through strategies like cost reduction, increasing sales, optimizing assets, or restructuring the company’s equity.

What’s the difference between ROE and Return on Investment (ROI)?

While both ROE and ROI measure profitability, they do so from different perspectives. ROI measures the return on an investment relative to the cost of the investment, while ROE measures a company’s profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested.

Can I use ROE as the only metric to evaluate a company’s performance?

ROE is a valuable metric for assessing a company’s profitability, but it shouldn’t be used in isolation. It is important to consider it alongside other financial ratios and indicators of a company’s performance such as Return on Assets (ROA), the debt to equity ratio, earnings per share (EPS), and others.

: What are some limitations of using ROE?

: While ROE is a useful indicator of financial performance, it has some limitations. For example, it can be artificially increased by taking on more debt, which in turn raises the company’s financial risk. Also, companies with high growth prospects may reinvest their earnings, resulting in a lower ROE in the short-term but potentially higher returns in the future. Therefore, it is vital to analyze ROE in the context of the company’s overall financial performance.

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