In order to do this, the company needs to perform some financial modeling. The first step is to model out all the revenues, expenses, capital costs, etc., in an Excel spreadsheet and develop a forecast. The forecast needs to include the free cash flow of the investment over its lifetime. Once all the cash flows are in place, use the XNPV function in Excel to discount the cash flows back to today at the set hurdle rate. If the resulting Net Present Value (NPV) is greater than zero, the project exceeds the hurdle rate, and if the NPV is negative it does not meet it. Most companies use their weighted average cost of capital (WACC) as a hurdle rate for investments.

Hence, the fund manager strongly suggests the company discard the investment project, as it is a risky investment choice that might lead the firm to incur huge losses in the future. Consequently, in this case, the 10% becomes the project’s HR or the minimum acceptable rate of return. The management fee is always paid by the investor, regardless of profits. However, a variety of structures can be used in calculating profits for the purpose of charging incentive fees.

  • In this way, investing in their own shares (earning their WACC) represents the opportunity cost of any alternative investment.
  • The forecast needs to include the free cash flow of the investment over its lifetime.
  • The following three factors are of primary important in determining a hurdle rate.
  • Companies operating in industries with more volatile markets might use a slightly higher rate in order to offset risk and attract investors.

Under one type of structure, the profit can simply be defined as the increase in net asset value. Alternatively, the profit can be the increase in NAV with an adjustment for management fees. IRR is also used by financial professionals to compute the expected returns on stocks or other investments, such as the yield to maturity on bonds. Working with an adviser may come with potential downsides such as payment of fees (which will reduce returns). There are no guarantees that working with an adviser will yield positive returns. The existence of a fiduciary duty does not prevent the rise of potential conflicts of interest.

What is a Hurdle Rate?

So, if you project that an investment can bring in 11% returns and the hurdle rate is 7.56%, you might consider the investment a good one because you may earn a return of more than 3% above the hurdle rate. Treasury 10-year bond rate, the risk-free rate of return in the summer of 2021 was 1.33%. Bankrate follows a strict
editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. Then, subtract your risk premium from your total interest rate (WACC) to get your hurdle rate.

  • As an example, suppose a manager knows that investing in a conservative project, such as a bond investment or another project with no risk, yields a known rate of return.
  • If the rate is chosen incorrectly, it can result in a decision that is not an efficient use of funds or results in missed opportunities.
  • Considering the risk involved helps us decide on the investment in concern and calculates the cost of the foregone investment opportunity.
  • For instance if the fund’s WACC is 5% it may add 2 more percentage points to come to a hurdle rate of 7%.
  • It’s vital for companies to understand these sector-specific nuances to benchmark their hurdle rates effectively.
  • Hence, in situations like these, the company is losing substantial potential revenues in the future.

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If the company is looking at one new investment in Argentina and one new investment in the United States, it should not use the same hurdle rate to compare them. Instead, it should use a higher rate for the investment in Argentina and a lower one for the investment in the U.S. Investors and businesses use hurdle rates to evaluate an investment or project’s potential.

Treasury notes and bonds typically are used as a risk-free rate of return because there is virtually no chance the investment will fall short of expectations. Investments that have a return greater than the risk-free rate of return offer a “risk premium” to the investor. To calculate the hurdle rate, some investors add the risk premium and risk-free rate of return. The formula for calculating the hurdle rate is based on the cost of capital and risk premium. As you can see in the example above, if a hurdle rate (discount rate) of 12% is used, the investment opportunity has a net present value of $378,381. This means if the cost of making the investment is less than $378,381, then its expected return will exceed the hurdle rate.

Limitations of the Hurdle Rate

It sets a threshold level for whether or not to invest cash in a project or investment. More specifically, the hurdle rate is the discount rate for which the cash flows of a proposed capital purchase must generate zero or positive discounted cash flows. The cash flows from a proposed project must at least equal zero when discounted using this rate, or else a company as a whole will generate a negative rate of return from the funds that it uses. A hurdle rate reasons for low retail sales per square foot is the minimum rate of return required for a company or investor to move forward on a project. Most companies factor in a risk premium when determining their hurdle rate, assigning a higher rate to riskier projects and a lower rate to projects with more moderate risks. Methods to evaluate a project’s viability include determining the net present value (NPV) through a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis and calculating the internal rate of return (IRR).

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

Also known as break-even yield, the hurdle rate can be a key factor in guiding investment decisions. The definition of hurdle rate is the minimum required rate of return on a financial proposition for it to receive the green light. This hurdle rate concept can be applied to investments and business projects. The greater the risk involved in an investment, the higher the hurdle rate will be.

S&P Futures

The hurdle rate (HR), also known as the minimum acceptable rate of return (MARR), is the rate of return that an investor or manager accepts as the absolute minimum for a specific investment. If a hedge fund sets a 5% hurdle rate, for example, it will only collect incentive fees during periods when returns are higher than this amount. If the same fund also has a high-water mark, it cannot collect an incentive fee unless the fund’s value is above the high-water mark, and returns are above the hurdle rate. Hurdle rate and high-water mark are two types of benchmarks that hedge funds can set as requirements for collecting incentive or performance fees from investors. The hurdle rate, also called the minimum acceptable rate of return, is the lowest rate of return that the project must earn in order to offset the costs of the investment. Cost of capital has multiple definitions, but a popular one is the cost a business pays to raise funds.

Combining the risk premium with the company’s cost of capital results in the determination of a hurdle rate. This is usually calculated by blending together a company’s funding sources such as debt, preferred stock, and common equity. At a minimum, a project should deliver a return that exceeds the financing rate. The historical risk premium of the S&P 500 rate of return over the U.S. Treasury 10-year bond may be used by investors to estimate the risk premium. This exercise is undertaken to obtain the present value of the project under evaluation and determine the returns.


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A 12% hurdle rate signifies the minimum 12% rate of return that an investment must achieve before certain performance-based fees or profit-sharing arrangements are triggered. If a company is required by law to make an investment (such as for smokestack scrubbers), the hurdle rate does not apply at all, and cash flow discounting is irrelevant to the investment decision. The company must make the investment, no matter what the return from the investment may be.