# Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio

### Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on December 20, 2023

## What Is a Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio?

Mutual funds are an investment vehicle that pools money from many investors to purchase a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities.

This enables investors to gain exposure to a wider range of securities than they could typically achieve on their own. Mutual funds are managed by professional fund managers who make investment decisions based on the fund's investment objectives and strategies.

The mutual fund turnover ratio measures how frequently a mutual fund buys and sells securities within its portfolio over a specific period, usually a year.

The turnover ratio is expressed as a percentage of the fund's total assets. A higher turnover ratio indicates that the fund manager is actively buying and selling securities within the fund.

In comparison, a lower turnover ratio suggests that the fund manager is holding onto securities for longer periods.

## Calculation of Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio

The mutual fund turnover ratio is a key metric for evaluating mutual funds and can provide insight into a fund's investment strategy and decision-making process.

The turnover ratio represents how often the underlying assets in a specific fund are bought and sold. Turnover rates can vary greatly between different types of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

Here are the steps to calculate the mutual fund turnover ratio:

• Gather the Necessary Information. You will need the total number of securities purchased by the mutual fund for the 12-month period you are calculating the ratio for and the total proceeds realized from the sale of assets during that same period.

• Choose the Smaller of the Two Numbers. The SEC requires mutual funds to calculate the turnover ratio using the smaller of the two numbers to ensure accuracy. If you are estimating the turnover ratio yourself, choose the smaller figure for your calculations.

• Divide the Chosen Number by the Fund's Assets. Divide the chosen number by the fund's assets based on the average value for the 12-month period. This will give you a decimal figure.

• Multiply the Resulting Figure by 100: To obtain the percentage of the turnover ratio, multiply the decimal by 100.

For example, a mutual fund had \$10 million in assets and bought and sold \$3 million in securities the previous year. The fund's average assets for the year were \$8 million.

Using the formula above, we would divide \$3 million by \$8 million, which gives us 0.375. Multiplying 0.375 by 100 gives us a turnover ratio of 37.5%.

## Importance of Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio

Understanding the importance of the mutual fund turnover ratio is crucial for investors who want to make informed investment decisions.

Here are some reasons why the mutual fund turnover ratio is important:

### Investment Strategy

It can provide insight into the fund manager's investment strategy. A high turnover ratio indicates that the fund's manager frequently buys and sells investments.

This may suggest that the fund manager is pursuing an active investment strategy to capitalize on short-term market fluctuations.

On the other hand, a low turnover ratio may suggest a passive investment strategy that emphasizes the long-term holding of assets.

### Costs

Mutual fund turnover ratio can impact the costs associated with owning the fund. A high turnover ratio can result in higher transaction costs, such as brokerage commissions and bid-ask spreads.

In addition, frequent trading activity can lead to higher taxes due to capital gains distributions, which can reduce returns. Investors should be aware of these potential costs when selecting mutual funds.

### Risk Management

It can also provide insight into the fund manager's approach to managing risk.

For example, if a fund manager has a high turnover ratio and frequently sells off assets, this may suggest that the manager is actively managing risk by minimizing exposure to certain assets.

Conversely, a low turnover ratio may suggest that the fund manager is taking a more passive approach to risk management.

### Performance

The mutual fund turnover ratio can also impact a fund's performance. High turnover ratios can lead to higher expenses, negatively impacting returns.

Additionally, frequent trading can lead to more taxable events, which can reduce returns further. By contrast, lower turnover ratios may lead to lower expenses and taxes, which can help improve returns.

## Interpreting Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio

The mutual fund turnover ratio is a critical metric that can provide valuable information to investors. However, interpreting the turnover ratio can be complex. Here are some key points to keep in mind when interpreting mutual fund turnover ratios:

### High vs Low Turnover Ratios

High and low turnover ratios have different implications for mutual fund investors.

High turnover ratios may suggest that the fund manager is pursuing an active investment strategy, trying to capitalize on short-term market fluctuations.

It can also result in higher costs due to more frequent trading and potentially higher taxes.

Low turnover ratios may suggest that the fund manager is taking a more passive approach, holding investments for longer periods.

It may also result in lower costs and taxes. It is essential to analyze other factors in addition to the turnover ratio when evaluating mutual funds.

### Factors That Influence the Turnover Ratio

Several factors can influence the mutual fund turnover ratio.

One key factor is the fund's investment strategy. Funds that pursue an active investment strategy may have higher turnover ratios compared to those that pursue a passive strategy.

Additionally, market volatility can impact the turnover ratio, as fund managers may buy and sell assets more frequently in response to market changes.

Finally, fund inflows and outflows can also impact the turnover ratio, as managers may need to buy and sell assets to meet redemption requests or invest new capital.

## What Is a Good Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio?

When evaluating a mutual fund's turnover ratio, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what constitutes a good turnover ratio.

The ideal turnover ratio depends on several factors, including the type of fund and investment objective. A lower turnover ratio is generally preferred for passively managed ETFs and index mutual funds.

If a passively managed fund is turning over at a rate of more than 20% to 30%, that could suggest that the fund is being mismanaged. In contrast, there is no such thing as a too-high ratio for actively managed funds.

It is common to see a turnover of 50% or more in a given year with funds that take a more aggressive approach. However, higher turnover ratios may result in higher investor costs and fees.

When comparing mutual funds, investors should consider the turnover ratio in conjunction with other factors, such as the expense ratio, the fund manager's overall track record, and the fund's underlying holdings.

Checking the holdings of a mutual fund can help investors avoid becoming overexposed to one particular area or industry.

For example, holding two funds that track the S&P 500 as its benchmark and the Dow Jones U.S. Large-Cap Total Stock Market Index could cause an investor to become overexposed to large-cap holdings if they do not have other funds to balance out their portfolio.

Ultimately, selecting mutual funds that align with an investor's investment objectives and risk tolerance is more important than solely focusing on the turnover ratio.

When evaluating mutual funds, investors should consider a fund's investment strategy, risk management practices, and overall performance.

## Using Mutual Fund Turnover Ratio in Investment Decisions

When making investment decisions, it is important to consider a mutual fund's turnover ratio as part of a comprehensive investment analysis.

The turnover ratio can provide valuable insight into a fund's investment strategy, risk management practices, and overall performance.

By analyzing a fund's turnover ratio alongside other factors such as expense ratios, historical performance, and the fund manager's track record, investors can gain a more complete understanding of the fund's potential risks and rewards.

### Role of Turnover Ratio in Selecting Mutual Funds

Investors can use the turnover ratio as a screening tool when selecting mutual funds for their portfolios.

Passively managed ETFs and index mutual funds tend to have lower turnover ratios, making them a good choice for investors who prioritize low costs and passive investing strategies.

In contrast, actively managed funds with higher turnover ratios may be more suitable for investors who seek higher returns and are willing to pay higher fees.

However, investors should not solely rely on the turnover ratio when selecting mutual funds. Other factors, such as the fund's investment objective, historical performance, and management team, are equally important.

Moreover, investors should consider their investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon when selecting mutual funds.

### Considerations for Different Types of Investors

Different types of investors may have different priorities when it comes to selecting mutual funds.

For example, conservative investors may prioritize funds with lower turnover ratios and higher diversification, while more aggressive investors may focus on funds with higher turnover ratios and potentially higher returns.

Additionally, tax considerations may also play a role in the selection of mutual funds. High-turnover funds may generate more taxable events, which could result in higher tax liabilities for investors.

In contrast, low-turnover funds may be more tax-efficient and generate fewer taxable events.

By incorporating the turnover ratio into a comprehensive investment analysis, investors can make informed investment decisions and build a diversified portfolio that aligns with their investment goals.

## Final Thoughts

The mutual fund turnover ratio is essential for evaluating mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. The ratio provides valuable insights into a fund's investment strategy, risk management practices, and overall performance.

By analyzing the turnover ratio alongside other factors such as expense ratios, historical performance, and management teams, investors can gain a more complete understanding of the fund's potential risks and rewards.

High and low turnover ratios have different implications for mutual fund investors.

High turnover ratios may suggest an active investment strategy with potentially higher returns, but they also result in higher costs and taxes.

On the other hand, low turnover ratios suggest a passive investment strategy that emphasizes the long-term holding of assets with lower costs and taxes.

Investors should not rely solely on the turnover ratio when selecting mutual funds, as other factors such as investment objective, historical performance, and management team are also important.

Different types of investors may have different priorities when selecting mutual funds. Investors should consult a financial advisor to determine the best mutual fund investment strategy based on their individual goals, risk tolerance, and tax situation.