Competing funds were assessed on a simple formula where they were judged against the relative performance of their peers. Using the Standard & Poor's Micropal-developed 'relative risk adjusted ratio', a fund's performance was calculated on the monthly performance of a series of funds trying to achieve similar goals. The ratio, which was adopted last year, was re-designed this year with the basic premise being the awards reward funds which had pulled ahead of their relative benchmark but were consistent in their performance. To calculate performance, Micropal divided a fund's average monthly relative return by the volatility of the monthly relative returns. The higher the average monthly return, the better a fund had done relative to its benchmark. The lower the volatility of the monthly relative returns, the more consistent the fund, relative to its benchmark. Paul Barnes, media director for S & P's Micropal, said the criteria for the awards was to identify funds which had achieved a given return with a given volatility specific to their sector. He said the awards had progressively moved away from assessing entries purely based on performance over a time period set against the volatility of monthly returns. Now, it was necessary to focus not only on return but also on the risk-return question; how many units was a fund prepared to accept for a given return and vice versa?