More Turnover Can Create Higher Trading Costs and Indicate Investment Process Issues
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Some active equity fund managers have higher portfolio turnover rates than they themselves claim, a new study finds. Nearly two-thirds of institutional investor-focused investment strategies exceeded their expected turnover from June 2006 through June 2009. Of these strategies, the turnover was on average 26 percent higher than anticipated, with some strategies reporting turnover between 150 and 200 percent more than expected.
The new report, “Investment Horizons – Do Managers Do What They Say?”, demonstrates that investment managers themselves underestimate turnover and often do not live up to their stated claims when it comes to the holding periods for the stocks in their portfolio. The study, conducted by Mercer and funded by the not-for-profit IRRC Institute, examines the investment horizon of active equity investment managers, comparing various strategies, different geographies and styles between June 2006 and June 2009.
“Short-term investing is often cited as an issue by the press, policymakers, academics, and many in the business and investing community,” noted Jon Lukomnik, program director for the IRRC Institute. “What has not been recognized until now is that this is not only particular to day traders or arbitrage funds or others who may have short time horizons by design. When two-thirds of long only equity institutional investment products have turnover that exceeds what they themselves expect, there is a systemic issue.”
“The findings should raise serious questions for investors,” Lukomnik continued. “When managers greatly exceed their expected turnover level, the impact can be significant in terms of cost, performance, and risk that the strategy is not being managed in line with its stated investment approach.”
“A deviation in actual versus expected turnover can be a possible indicator of deeper problems with investment processes,” said Danyelle Guyatt, the head of research for Mercer’s responsible investment team and the report co-author. “Clients interested in a strategy that seeks to capitalize on longer-term trends and hold stock in corporations for longer periods need to be aware if that situation is changing and why,” she added.
The study deployed two approaches to the data analysis. First a quantitative analysis of portfolio turnover of over 900 strategies examined intended and realized average holding periods for various investment products across different regions and styles. Then Mercer researchers conducted a qualitative case study analysis on eight active equity fund managers.
The key findings of the quantitative analysis include:
The key insights from the qualitative case study analysis from the fund managers include:
The complete study, Investment horizons – do managers do what they say? is available, free of charge, at www.mercer.com/ri.
Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues, designing and helping manage health, retirement and other benefits. It is a leader in benefits outsourcing. Mercer’s investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer’s 18,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York, Chicago, and London stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.
About The IRRC Institute
The IRRC Institute is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in New York, NY whose mission is to provide thought leadership at the intersection of corporate responsibility and the informational needs of investors. More information is available at www.irrcinstitute.org.
1 For the purpose of this study, in absolute terms short-termism is defined as an average holding period of 12 months or less (equivalent to 100 percent p.a. or higher turnover). In relative terms, it can also be measured as a higher actual level of turnover than expected levels as self-reported/used in promotional material.
Bruce Lee, 1-212-345-0553
Kelly Kenneally, 1-202-256-1445