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Wealth Added Index (WAI)


The Wealth Added Index (WAI) is a financial metric that measures the value generated by a company for its shareholders. It compares the actual returns provided to shareholders to their expected return based on market risk. If the company’s returns exceed the expected returns, the company is creating wealth; if not, it is destroying wealth.


The phonetics of the keyword “Wealth Added Index (WAI)” is:Wealth: /wɛlθ/Added: /ˈædɪd/Index: /ˈɪndɛks/WAI: /waɪ/

Key Takeaways

Main Takeaways About Wealth Added Index (WAI)

  1. Measure of Value Addition: WAI is a financial tool that measures the wealth created for shareholders. It calculates the economic profit generated by a company and aids in identifying whether the firm is adding to or subtracting from shareholder value.
  2. Calculation Method: It’s computed by subtracting the capital cost from the company’s net income. If the WAI is positive, it means the company is generating more income than the cost of the capital it has used, thus adding shareholder value. Conversely, a negative WAI suggests a failure to produce an adequate return on invested capital.
  3. Strategic Decision-Making: WAI is used by businesses for strategic decision-making, capital budgeting, and incentivization of managers. It can also be used by investors to assess management’s effectiveness and the potential for future value creation.


The Wealth Added Index (WAI) is a critical business/finance term as it provides a comprehensive measure of a company’s wealth creation performance. Unlike conventional profit-based metrics, WAI focuses on the economic profit generated by a business, accounting for both operating profit and the cost of capital. It helps investors gain a more accurate insight into an organization’s capability to create shareholder wealth over time. Therefore, understanding WAI becomes crucial for stakeholders to make informed decisions. It aids firms in capital budgeting and strategic planning, ensuring the efficient use of capital and maximizing shareholder value. It does not solely rely on accounting measures of profit, making it a valuable tool in determining actual economic health and viability of organizations.


The Wealth Added Index (WAI) is an important metric used by companies and financial analysts primarily to assess how well a company is utilizing the money invested in it by shareholders. By quantifying the value generated over what investors could have made by investing in other ventures of similar risk, WAI provides a glimpse into management’s effectiveness in creating shareholder value. The purpose of WAI is to paint not merely a picture of the company’s present profitability or market performance, but to evaluate whether it is delivering satisfactory returns in comparison to other possible investment options.WAI is usually used to make key strategic and operational decisions. They can be used for performance evaluation, board-level discussions on creating richer shareholder value, and capital budgeting decisions. It’s particularly beneficial for companies seeking to streamline their business offerings around ventures that offer genuine investor value. Furthermore, because the WAI offers a more holistic view of a company’s performance than some traditional indicators, potential investors can also use it as a tool to identify companies that might yield higher returns on their investment.


1. Sterling Insurance Company: An example could involve Sterling, an insurance company that measures its economic profits annually using WAI. This was implemented as a performance measurement tool for the management team, as well as to establish bonuses for employees. By leveraging WAI, they were able to identify inefficiencies within several departments, enabling them to increase their overall economic profit.2. Innovative Technology Ltd.: A tech startup, Innovative Technology Ltd, employs the Wealth Added Index to monitor its business strategies and investments. Through this, the company is able to better identify when the return on investment surpasses the company’s risk-adjusted cost of capital, hence generating wealth for the shareholders.3. Delta Financial Group: Delta, a financial institution, uses the Wealth Added Index to determine whether their business units are creating wealth. For instance, if a business unit had a WAI greater than zero it would represent that the unit produced profits beyond its cost of capital, adding wealth for shareholders. This metric is considered when assessing departmental performance and allocating resources.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Wealth Added Index (WAI)?

The Wealth Added Index (WAI) is a financial tool used to measure a company’s capability to generate wealth for its shareholders. It calculates the total wealth created, taking into account the cost of capital invested from shareholders and bondholders.

How is WAI calculated?

WAI is calculated by subtracting the cost of capital from the net income generated by a company. If the result is a positive number, it means the company has created wealth. If it’s negative, that indicates the company has destroyed shareholder and bondholder wealth.

Why is the Wealth Added Index useful for a business?

The Wealth Added Index enables businesses to assess if they are generating or eroding wealth for the stakeholders. It’s an important measure to indicate whether a business is achieving its financial goals and is useful for informed decision-making regarding business strategies.

Can the Wealth Added Index be used by investors?

Yes, investors can use the WAI as part of their analysis to make informed decisions about investing in a company. A positive WAI could represent an attractive investment proposition, as it implies that the firm is creating wealth.

It the WAI commonly used?

Many companies and investors may not use the WAI in their regular reporting or analysis. It is, however, a potentially useful tool, especially incorporated with other financial indicators for a comprehensive understanding of a firm’s financial health.

Is WAI useful in comparing companies in different sectors?

WAI could be a valuable tool for comparing companies across different sectors, as it focuses on the ability of a company to generate wealth, irrespective of the industry or sector. However, it’s important to consider the inherent differences in industries, including growth rates, capital intensity, competition level, and more when doing comparative analysis.

What does a negative Wealth Added Index indicate?

A negative WAI value indicates that the company is not generating enough wealth to cover the cost of the capital it has employed. In other words, it has destroyed wealth rather than creating it for the shareholders and bondholders.

Related Finance Terms

  • Economic Value Added (EVA): This is a measure of a company’s financial performance based on the residual wealth calculated by deducting its cost of capital from its operating profit.
  • Capital Investment: The investment of money or capital in business endeavors with the expectation of obtaining an additional income or profit.
  • Cash Flow: The total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business, especially as affecting liquidity.
  • Company’s Cost of Capital: It reflects the cost of generating capital—through equity, debt, or other means—which is then used to grow the business and drive operational initiatives.
  • Shareholder Value: Shareholder value is that delivered to equity owners of a corporation because of management’s ability to increase earnings, dividends, and share price.

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