Alpha is a measure of a fund's over- or under-performance by comparison to its benchmark. If the Alpha is 5, the fund has outperformed its benchmark by 5%; so the greater the Alpha, the greater the outperformance.
Beta estimates a fund's volatility by comparison to that of its benchmark. A fund with a beta close to 1 means that the fund will move generally in line with the benchmark. Higher than 1 and the fund is more volatile than the benchmark and vice versa.
This commonly-used measure calculates the level of return over and above the return of a notional risk-free investment, such as cash. The difference in returns is then divided by the fund's volatility. The resulting ratio is an indication of the amount of excess return generated per unit of risk.
Volatility (or standard deviation), when applied to an investment fund, expresses its risk. It shows how widely a range of returns varied from the fund's average return over a particular period. For example, if a fund had an average return of 5%, and its volatility was 15, this would mean that the range of its returns over the period had swung between +20% and -10%.
This measures the standard deviation of a fund's excess returns over the returns of an index or benchmark portfolio. As such, it can be an indication of 'riskiness' in the manager's investment style. A Tracking Error below 2 suggests a passive approach. At 3 and above the the manager will be deploying a more active investment style.
This is a useful risk-adjusted measure of actively managed fund performance. It is calculated by deducting the returns of the fund's benchmark from the fund's overall returns, then dividing the result by its tracking error. The higher the Information Ratio the better. It is generally considered that a figure of 0.5 reflects a good performance, 0.75 very good, and 1.00 outstanding.