Beta often is a "meaningless concept"

While institutional investors like to talk to hedge fund managers about beta, when correlation is low it is a meaningless variable

A pile of coins with two magnifying glasses

Institutional investors tend to use a different vocabulary when speaking about risk, compared with hedge fund managers. Investors often talk about beta and benchmarks; hedge funds talk about correlations and absolute returns. Betas and correlations are closely related to each other, but not the way most think.

Institutional investors as a group first learned about quantifying risk when they were introduced to the concept of beta. The conventional interpretation is that beta measures the relative

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