Note: The views & opinions expressed in these essays are strictly my own, and not those of any entity I may be associated with as an employee, consultant, promoter, investor, etc.ARCHIVES
Technology Entrepreneurship in India - Teams
Technology Entrepreneurship in India - Generating Revenue
Technology Entrepreneurship in India - Raising Capital
Equities, ETFs, F&O
Oct 2011: Equity Risk Premium for India
Jun 2011: Investing in Indian equities
Technology Enterprises in India
Nov 2010: Technology investment in India - WATER
Aug 2010: Technology enterprises in India - 3 avatars
Risk Capital for MSMEs
Mar 2010: Risk mitigation for investors in MSMEs
Mar 2010: Why don't (Indian) MSMEs get risk capital?
Feb 2010: Angel investing - Will it work for Indian MSMEs?
Feb 2010: What's so special about innovative MSMEs?
Feb 2010: Where do Indian/NRI (V)HNIs invest?
Feb 2010: Funding options for innovative MSMEs in India
Jan 2010: Innovative MSMEs in India
Equity Risk Premium for India
Last revised 28-Oct-2011. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This essay is a compilation of existing estimates for the Equity Risk Premium (ERP) in India, and a brief recommendation on a practical range for ERP-based valuation & decision making in India. This is neither academic research nor primary market research.Background
ERP is the excess return that the overall stock market provides over a risk-free rate, in order to compensate investors for taking on the relatively higher risk. ERP is also known as Market Risk Premium.
ERP is widely used:
ERP can be calculated using several alternative methods:
Regardless of the method used, ERP estimates are never straightforward; assumptions and judgment play a large role in the calculations. The usage of ERP, the methods used to calculate ERP, even the concept of ERP itself, remain controversial.ERP for Global Markets
Across the world, there have been many attempts at estimating ERP - by geography, by time period, by asset class, etc. What follows is a summary of popular research on this topic.1. Aswath Damodaran
Prof. Damodaran's (very popular) site has tons of data and analyses on the ERP. His 2011 paper - ERP: Determinants, Estimation and Implications - takes into account the huge changes in ERP during & after the 2008 crisis. In his words:
The ERP is neither a mathematical number nor is it a statistical number. Instead, it is a reflection of what investors are feeling in their gut.2. Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton
This trio authored Triumph of the Optimists - the definitive guide to long-term equity market returns across the world. Here is what they have to say on ERP in their paper Global Evidence on the Equity Risk Premium.
Since the middle of the last century, equity cash flows have almost certainly exceeded expectations. Stock markets have therefore risen for reasons that are unlikely to be repeated. This means that when developing forecasts for the future, investors and managers should adjust historical risk premiums downward for the impact of these factors.
[See also this McKinsey paper on stable ERPs of 3.5% to 4% for US & UK. For a very detailed analysis of various ERP calculation methods and estimates for developed markets, see Equity Risk Premium: Expectations Great and Small.]3. ERP Mega-Survey
This is an interesting paper published earlier this year - Market Risk Premium Used in 56 Countries in 2011: A Survey with 6,014 Answers. As the authors note:
Most previous surveys have been interested in the Expected MRP, but this survey asks about the Required MRP.
Look at the survey finding below - depending on whom you talk to (professors, analysts or companies), the ERP estimates vary widely, and not always consistently.
Eric Falkenstein wonders Is the Equity Risk Premium Actually Zero?.
Consider the following annualized adjustments that mainstream economists apply piecemeal, though when considered in total take the current ERP estimate of 3% well below zero:
Admittedly, this sounds extreme and flies in the face of the traditional notion: high-risk = high-return.5. ERP during crises
The 2007-? financial crisis has brought us some spectacular blowups in credit spreads and volatility. This in turn has had a significant impact on ERP, as explained by Graham & Harvey in The Equity Risk Premium amid a Global Financial Crisis.
We provide a direct measure of 10-year market returns based on a multi-year survey of CFOs. Importantly, we have a ‘measure’ of expectations.
Summary: ERPs across the world have typically been over-estimated, especially in developed markets. Even for emerging markets, ERPs have been steadily trending lower, despite the relatively higher volatility. Historical ERP estimates must be adjusted for macro-economic expectations, credit conditions, investor sentiment and sheer gut feeling.ERP for India
The table below lists various studies on the ERP for India.
Note that each of the above studies differs from the others in methodology, data sources, time periods, nuances of ERP estimates, etc.Conclusion: An Appropriate Forward-looking ERP range for India
As Damodaran points out, where you stand on the ERP issue depends on where you sit. Macro-strategists or market traders are bound to look at ERP from a different perspective than a value investor like Buffett or a corporate CFO who is in charge of funding long-term projects.
For most long-term (5+ year) corporate finance purposes, I think the best estimate is a long run average of ERP for India, adjusted for 3 factors:
The historical ERP for India is in the range of 9% - 10%. The secular decline in the ERP will probably overshadow an occasional crisis-driven spike; especially so from a CFO (versus trader/investor) point of view. Taxes, costs and the use of (lower than arithmetic) geometric mean will likely further lower the ERP estimate.
In conclusion, a reasonable