Bridge over ocean
1 January 2010 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 66, Issue 1

Return Targets and Percentile Fans

  1. Martin L. Leibowitz, PhD
  2. Anthony Bova, CFA

This article presents a highly intuitive approach for visualizing return distributions for a basic form of cash/equity allocations. This “percentile fan” framework can help clarify some of the key risk–return trade-offs in intuitive ways for a wide set of asset owners. In particular, percentile fans can help investors express their portfolio objectives in terms of return targets or shortfall limits over one or more horizons. For some investors, these intuitive goals, especially when depicted in a visual context, can feel like a more natural approach than the standard mean–variance utility framework.

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