Do active fund managers care about capital gains tax efficiency?
This study investigates the tax efficiency of actively managed equity funds by conducting a previously unaddressed natural experiment. Specifically, we examine whether asset sales were timed to take advantage of the introduction of a substantial discount to realized capital gains when the holding period was at least 1Â year. Institutional equity fund management in Australia is principally focused on the pre-fee and pre-tax performance surveys of leading asset consultants. Given this industry setting, our study is important because tax efficiency is not accounted for directly in the reported performance numbers, and is thus opaque. We find that active fund managers overall have significantly increased the proportion of long-term capital gains realized after the change in taxation code, although there are significant variations across funds. We also find that active fund managers realize more long-term gains on both large capitalization and low volatility stocks.
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