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Updated. February 16, 2024 10:08:10

Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and Assumptions Explained.

What Is the Capital Asset Pricing Model?

The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) is a widely used financial model that helps investors and analysts determine the expected return on an investment, especially when evaluating the risk associated with investing in a particular asset or security.

Developed in the early 1960s by William F. Sharpe, John Lintner, and Jan Mossin, CAPM is an important tool in the field of finance, particularly in the context of portfolio management and asset pricing.

The central idea behind CAPM is that an investment’s expected return should be directly related to its systematic risk, which is typically measured using beta (β).


  • Expected Return (Ri): The model calculates the expected return on an asset or security, denoted as “Ri,” which represents the return an investor can expect to receive in exchange for holding that particular asset.
  • Risk-Free Rate (Rf): CAPM starts with the concept of a risk-free rate, denoted as “Rf.” This is the theoretical return an investor would receive for investing in a completely risk-free asset, such as a U.S. Treasury bond. It serves as the baseline for expected returns.
  • Market Risk Premium (Rm – Rf): The market risk premium represents the additional return that investors expect to earn for taking on the risk of investing in the overall market compared to a risk-free asset. It is calculated as the difference between the expected return of the overall market (Rm) and the risk-free rate (Rf).
  • Beta (β): Beta measures the systematic risk of an asset or security in relation to the overall market. It represents the asset’s sensitivity to market movements. A beta of 1 indicates that the asset moves in line with the market, while a beta greater than 1 suggests higher volatility, and a beta less than 1 indicates lower volatility.


CAPM meaning in english, hindi, urdu, tamil, marathi, canada:

  • In English, CAPM stands for “Capital Asset Pricing Model.”
  • In Hindi: पूंजी संपत्ति मूल्यनिर्धारण मॉडल (Pūñjī sampattि mūlyanirdhāraṇ mōḍala).
  • In Urdu: کیپیم مطابقتی منظور (CAPM mutabiqati manzoor).
  • In Tamil: முதன்மை செலவு மதிப்புரைப்பாட்டு மாதிரி (Muthanmai celavu matippuraittū mātiri).
  • In Marathi: कॅपिटल एसेट प्राइसिंग मॉडेल (Kapital ēsēta prā’iṣiṅga mōḍēla).
  • In Canadian English: Capital Asset Pricing Model (Same as English).

CAPM and Beta

CAPM is based on the idea that the expected return on an investment should be proportional to its systematic risk, which is represented by beta (β). Beta measures the sensitivity of an asset’s returns to changes in the overall market returns. A beta of 1 indicates that the asset moves in line with the market, while a beta greater than 1 implies it’s more volatile than the market, and a beta less than 1 suggests it’s less volatile.

CAPM Example

The CAPM formula is:

Expected Return = Risk-Free Rate + Beta × (Market Return – Risk-Free Rate)

For example, if the risk-free rate is 3%, the market return is 8%, and a stock has a beta of 1.2, its expected return according to CAPM would be:

Expected Return = 3% + 1.2 × (8% – 3%) = 8.6%

Problems with the CAPM

Critics argue that CAPM has several limitations:

  • Assumption of a risk-free rate: It assumes a risk-free rate, which may not exist in reality.
  • Simplistic view of risk: CAPM considers only one risk factor (market risk) and doesn’t account for other sources of risk.
  • Market efficiency: CAPM assumes market efficiency, which may not hold true in all markets.
  • Estimation challenges: Accurately estimating beta values can be challenging.
  • No consideration of individual factors: CAPM doesn’t consider unique company or industry-specific factors.

The CAPM and the Efficient Frontier

The efficient frontier is a concept in portfolio theory that represents a set of portfolios that offer the highest expected return for a given level of risk or the lowest risk for a given level of expected return. CAPM can be used to find the optimal portfolio on the efficient frontier by considering the risk and return of individual assets.

CAPM and the Security Market Line (SML)

The Security Market Line (SML) is a graphical representation of the CAPM equation. It shows the relationship between an asset’s expected return and its beta. In SML, assets are plotted based on their beta values, and the slope of the line represents the market risk premium (the excess return expected from the market over the risk-free rate).

Practical Value of the CAPM

Despite its limitations, CAPM has practical value in finance. It provides a systematic framework for assessing the risk-return trade-off in investment decisions and portfolio construction. It’s often used as a starting point for estimating required rates of return for investments and determining whether a particular asset is overvalued or undervalued.

In practice, financial analysts and investors often use CAPM in conjunction with other models and techniques to make informed investment decisions and manage risk in their portfolios. It’s important to recognize that while CAPM provides valuable insights, it’s a simplification of real-world financial markets and should be used alongside other tools and judgment.

What is CAPM
What is CAPM

Capital Asset Pricing Model FAQ

What is the capital asset pricing model in simple terms?

The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is a financial model that helps investors determine the expected return of an investment based on its level of risk. In simple terms, it calculates the required rate of return for an investment by taking into account the risk-free rate of return, the market risk premium, and the investment’s beta.

What are the benefits of capital asset pricing model?

The benefits of using the capital asset pricing model include:
1. Estimating the expected return: CAPM provides a framework to estimate the expected return of an investment, which is useful for investors in making informed decisions.
2. Assessing risk: CAPM helps investors evaluate the risk associated with an investment by considering its beta, which measures the investment’s sensitivity to market movements.
3. Comparing investment opportunities: CAPM allows investors to compare different investment opportunities by considering their expected returns and risk levels.

What is the capital asset pricing model factor?

The capital asset pricing model factor refers to the beta coefficient used in the CAPM formula. Beta measures the sensitivity of an investment’s returns to market movements. It represents the systematic risk of an investment, indicating how it is likely to perform compared to the overall market. The factor helps investors assess the risk and expected return of an investment relative to the market.

The Bottom Line

CAPM is widely used in finance for valuing and comparing investments, especially when assessing the risk and expected returns of individual assets or building diversified investment portfolios. However, it does come with certain assumptions and limitations, and its accuracy in predicting real-world returns is a subject of ongoing debate in the field of finance.