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Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC)


Risk-Adjusted Return on Capital (RAROC) is a measure used in finance to assess the profitability of potential investments considering the risks entailed. It is calculated by dividing the risk-adjusted profit by the amount of capital at risk. The higher the RAROC, the higher the investment’s prospective returns considering its risk.


Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC) can be phonetically pronounced as RISK-Adjus-ted Re-turn On Cap-it-al (RA-ROC).

Key Takeaways

  1. Measurement of Risk and Profitability: RAROC is a risk-adjusted financial metric that is utilized to assess the profit potential of an investment, taking into account the risks involved. It essentially evaluates the profitability of an investment after factoring in the risk involved, fostering economic risk management.
  2. Use in Decision Making: RAROC is an essential metric for financial institutions and corporations when it comes to making decisions on asset allocation, risk management and pricing, and performance assessment. It enables them to evaluate the efficiency of their capital usage and make informed decisions with a clear understanding of the risk-reward trade-off.
  3. Promotes Risk Adjusted Pricing: RAROC is fundamental in promoting risk-adjusted pricing because it ensures that businesses price their products and services to sufficiently cover the risks and costs associated with the business activities, while also achieving a reasonable return on the capital invested.


Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC) is a crucial metric in business and finance because it provides a comprehensive understanding of an investment’s profitability considering the associated risks. By factoring in risk, it offers a more accurate measure of a company’s performance or a specific investment than merely looking at returns. This approach aids managers and investors in making more informed decisions regarding capital allocation, risk management, and performance assessment. Having a high RAROC implies the potential to earn greater returns even with added risk, enabling the recognition of investments that provide the best returns relative to their risk level. Therefore, RAROC is indispensable for ensuring prudent investment and risk management.


The primary purpose of Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC) is to provide a consolidated measure of profitability across various risk levels. It offers a comprehensive view on the financial health of a business or investment, by considering not only the expected return on capital but also the degree of risk involved in achieving those returns. RAROC is particularly used by financial institutions and banks to price commercial loans, measure performance and drive strategic decision-making. By using this measure banks can price their services adequately to compensate not only the expected losses, but also the capital at risk.RAROC is immensely valuable in aiding efficient capital utilization within an organization. It helps in understanding how effectively a business is using its capital to accomplish acceptable risk levels. It also simplifies comparison between different investment opportunities by normalizing returns against the risks involved, thereby providing a level playing field. Hence, RAROC is not merely a performance measure, but a comprehensive metric that facilitates smart financial decision-making by integrating risk and return considerations. It is instrumental in capital budgeting decisions, risk management, performance evaluation and setting capital adequacy standards.


1. Banking Industry: Banks use RAROC to assess their credit risk, market risk, and operational risk to determine the overall profitability. For example, Bank of America might use RAROC to evaluate the profitability of their loan portfolios, taking into account the risk of default by borrowers. In this context, RAROC aids the bank in deciding whether to approve a loan based on the potential return and the associated risk.2. Investment Firms: Investment firms use RAROC when managing individual portfolios. For example, a firm like Goldman Sachs might use RAROC to compare the potential risk and return of investing in a tech startup compared to a well-established corporation. Higher risk investments should ideally offer higher returns, and RAROC ensures an appropriate balance between the two.3. Insurance Companies: Insurers use RAROC to help set premiums and evaluate risk across many individual policies. For instance, State Farm might use this metric to evaluate the risk-return tradeoff of insuring a new driver versus an experienced one, taking into account factors like the likelihood of an accident, the potential cost of a claim, and the premiums that each type of driver is willing to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC) mean?

RAROC is a financial method employed for adjusting the return on capital for risk involved. It is used by organizations to determine the potential risks and rewards associated with particular business ventures in order to make informed decisions.

How is RAROC calculated?

RAROC is calculated by subtracting the expected loss from the expected return, then dividing the result by the allocated capital.

Why is RAROC important in financial planning?

RAROC is crucial because it helps businesses objectively analyze the profitability of different business ventures while taking into account varying risk levels.

Can RAROC be used by all types of businesses?

Yes, while RAROC is common in the banking and investment industry, any business that wants to quantify the financial return of a venture adjusted for the risk involved can apply it.

What type of risks does RAROC factor in?

It usually factors in financial risks such as credit risk, market risk, and operational risk. However, the types of risks factored in can vary depending on the business and the specific venture.

Is a higher or lower RAROC value better?

Higher RAROC values are typically preferred as they indicate a higher return for the level of risk taken. However, it’s essential to note that high RAROC values are not always a guarantee for success, and the contextual interpretation is necessary.

How does RAROC assist in decision-making?

RAROC allows businesses to compare various investment opportunities on a level playing field, regardless of their risk levels. By evaluating these risk-adjusted returns, organizations can prioritize the ones offering the best possible returns for the risk undertaken.

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