Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SIFR Research Report Series,
Institute for Financial Research

No 25: All Guts, No Glory: Trading and Diversification among Online Investors

Anders E.S. Anderson
Additional contact information
Anders E.S. Anderson: Swedish Institute for Financial Research, Postal: Saltmätargatan 19 A, 4th fl., SE-113 59 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: I explore cross-sectional portfolio performance in a sample containing 324,736 transactions conducted by 16,831 investors at an Internet discount brokerage firm during the period May 1999 to March 2002. On average, investors hold undiversified portfolios, show a strong preference for risk, and trade aggressively. I measure performance using a panel data model, and explain the cross-sectional variation using investors’ turnover, portfolio size and degree of diversification. I find that turnover is harmful to performance due to fees, and is therefore more predominant among investors with small portfolios. It is argued that the degree of diversification is a proxy for investor skill, and it has a separate and distinct positive effect on performance. These findings are helpful in explaining the overall result that investors underperform the market by around 8.5% per year on average.

Keywords: Investor behavior; Performance evaluation; Panel data models

JEL-codes: C33; D14; G11

52 pages, April 19, 2004

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