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Portfolio Turnover


Portfolio turnover refers to the frequency at which assets within a fund are bought and sold by the portfolio managers. It is calculated by comparing the total amount of new securities purchased or the amount of securities sold (whichever is less) to the total net value of the portfolio. High portfolio turnover can suggest active management but may also result in higher transaction costs.


The phonetics of the keyword “Portfolio Turnover” is: Portfolio – /pɔrˈtoʊ lioʊ/Turnover – /ˈtɝːnˌoʊvər/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Measurement of Fund Activity: Portfolio turnover is a measure of a fund’s trading activity which is calculated by the lesser value of purchases or sales during a specified period divided by the average total net assets of the fund. It represents how much of the portfolio’s holdings have been bought and sold within a particular year.
  2. Impact on Transaction costs: Higher portfolio turnover can result in higher transaction costs, which also could incur more capital gains tax. Therefore, investors need to be careful with funds that have high turnover rates as they might erode the potential profits.
  3. Indication of Investment Strategy: The turnover rate can often give an indication of the fund’s investment strategy. Low turnover rates often suggest a buy-and-hold strategy, while high turnover rates may indicate an active trading approach.

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Portfolio turnover is a crucial aspect in business finance as it refers to the frequency at which assets within a fund are bought and sold by the portfolio managers. It is important as it offers insights into the fund manager’s investment strategy and the transaction costs implied. A high turnover indicates an active management approach attempting to maximize short-term gains, but it also implicates higher transaction costs, and possibly higher capital gains taxes for investors. Conversely, a low turnover rate suggests a buy-and-hold strategy, aiming for long-term gains with potentially lower transaction costs. Therefore, understanding portfolio turnover helps investors align their investment objectives with the fund’s strategy.


Portfolio turnover is a measure that investors utilize to understand the level of trading activity in a specific portfolio over a particular period of time. This financial metric helps to gauge the way in which a fund’s or an investment manager’s strategy relies on buying and selling. For example, a high turnover rate could indicate a strategy that relies heavily on short-term trading, while a low turnover rate might suggest a more longer-term, buy-and-hold approach. Hence, portfolio turnover sheds light on the demeanor of the fund manager in terms of their trading habits and their approach to volatility in the market.In terms of its implications, a consideration worthy to note is that a high portfolio turnover rate can potentially lead to increased transaction costs for the investor, as each buy or sell incurs a brokerage fee. These extra costs can ultimately eat into the overall returns of the investment. Moreover, a higher portfolio turnover can potentially lead to short-term capital gains, which could have tax implications. Hence, from a financial planning perspective, understanding a portfolio’s turnover rate can provide potential investors valuable insights about the underlying costs and tax liabilities associated with a particular investment in terms of its trading strategy.


1. Mutual Fund Companies: In the financial world, an immediate example of portfolio turnover comes from mutual fund companies. Each mutual fund has a portfolio of different investments. If a fund has high portfolio turnover, it means the fund manager is buying and selling stocks more frequently. This could be due to various investment strategies, like trying to capitalize on short-term market trends. However, high turnover also means higher transaction costs, which may impact the overall returns.2. Hedge Funds: Hedge funds often engage in frequent trading practices, which can result in high portfolio turnover. Some hedge funds use algorithms or other quantitative models to make rapid-fire transactions. This high turnover can potentially generate substantial profits, but it can also result in high operational costs and increased risk, especially if the trades don’t perform as expected.3. Pension Fund: Another example can be seen in a pension fund company. They often maintain a low portfolio turnover as they generally focus on long-term investments. The managers in pension funds usually invest in blue-chip companies that offer a steady return over time. Consequently, the transaction costs associated with a pension fund are often lower due to their long-term investment strategy and lower portfolio turnover.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Portfolio Turnover?

Portfolio turnover is a measure of how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the managers. It is calculated by taking either the total amount of new securities purchased or the amount of securities sold – whichever is less – over a particular period, divided by the total net asset value (NAV) of the fund.

How is Portfolio Turnover calculated?

The formula to calculate portfolio turnover is the total amount of new securities purchased or the amount of securities sold divided by the total net asset value (NAV) of the fund.

What does a high Portfolio Turnover ratio indicate?

A high portfolio turnover ratio typically indicates that fund managers frequently buy and sell securities, which could potentially indicate a more aggressive trading strategy. However, it could also lead to higher transaction costs for the fund.

What does a low Portfolio Turnover ratio mean?

A low portfolio turnover ratio suggests that the fund’s managers are trading securities less frequently. This often results in lower transaction costs.

Can Portfolio Turnover affect fund performance?

Yes, portfolio turnover can impact fund performance. High turnover might indicate a high trading strategy which may lead to higher returns, but it will also incur higher transaction costs. On the contrary, low turnover may suggest that there are lower trading costs, potentially maximizing net return.

How frequently is Portfolio Turnover typically reported?

Portfolio turnover is usually reported by mutual funds on an annual basis. However, frequency can vary depending on the management company or type of fund.

Is a high or low Portfolio Turnover ratio better?

Neither is inherently better or worse – it primarily depends on the strategy of the fund and its managers. High turnover might mean a potential for higher gains but also higher transaction costs, while low turnover could mean more stability and lower costs, but possibly lower returns as well. It’s always important to consider other factors such as investment strategy, the investor’s risk tolerance and the overall costs associated with the fund.

Related Finance Terms

  • Asset Management: The process of developing, operating, maintaining, and selling assets in a cost-effective manner.
  • Trading Costs: The costs associated with buying and selling securities, including broker commissions and market spread.
  • Liquidity: The extent to which an asset can be quickly bought or sold without affecting the asset’s price.
  • Diversification: A risk management technique that mixes a wide variety of investments within a portfolio.
  • Investment Strategy: A strategic approach to managing an investment portfolio to achieve specific objectives or goals.

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