Systematic Risk

Definition of 'Systematic Risk'


The risk inherent to the entire market or an entire market segment. Systematic risk, also known as “undiversifiable risk,” “volatility” or “market risk,” affects the overall market, not just a particular stock or industry. This type of risk is both unpredictable and impossible to completely avoid. It cannot be mitigated through diversification, only through hedging or by using the right asset allocation strategy.

Investopedia explains 'Systematic Risk'


For example, putting some assets in bonds and other assets in stocks can mitigate systematic risk because an interest rate shift that makes bonds less valuable will tend to make stocks more valuable, and vice versa, thus limiting the overall change in the portfolio’s value from systematic changes. Interest rate changes, inflation, recessions and wars all represent sources of systematic risk because they affect the entire market. Systematic risk underlies all other investment risks.

The Great Recession provides a prime example of systematic risk. Anyone who was invested in the market in 2008 saw the values of their investments change because of this market-wide economic event, regardless of what types of securities they held. The Great Recession affected different asset classes in different ways, however, so investors with broader asset allocations were impacted less than those who held nothing but stocks.

If you want to know how much systematic risk a particular security, fund or portfolio has, you can look at its beta, which measures how volatile that investment is compared to the overall market. A beta of greater than 1 means the investment has more systematic risk than the market, less than 1 means less systematic risk than the market, and equal to one means the same systematic risk as the market.

Whereas this type of risk affects a broad range of securities, unsystematic risk affects a very specific group of securities or an individual security. Unsystematic risk can be mitigated through diversification.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
  2. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  3. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  4. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  5. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  6. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
Trading Center