Performance Perspectives Blog

The IRR is making a “Nixonian comeback”

by | Sep 17, 2013

Probably sparked by (a) my discovery of the TV show, The Big Bang Theory, and (b) the fairly recent news about the Higgs boson, I recently began reading Leon 
Lederman‘s The God Particle. Mind you, I have JUST begun, but already stumbled upon something that I found I could use … and I’m using it here!

In his definition of “The aether,” he wrote “Discredited and discarded by Einstein, the aether is now making a Nixonian comeback.”

Wow! Clever!

I immediately thought of my friend, the Internal Rate of Return (IRR): it is making a Nixonian comeback, too. It had ben discarded by virtually the entire investment world in favor of time-weighting. Like Rodney Dangerfield, it got no respect.  But alas, it is creeping back, most recently with the introduction of the GIPS(R) guidance statement for asset owners that recommends its use. Excellent!

And while perhaps the IRR, if it was an actual being, might not like being compared with “Tricky Dick,” it would still rejoice that it is finally “getting its due” and once again, gaining some respectability. Hurrah!

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