What is the holding period for ETFs?


An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on the market that tracks a specific index. They give investors easy access to high-performing assets such as stocks, commodities and currencies without them having to trade the assets directly. ETFs are bought and sold through a brokerage or online trading account, just like ordinary shares in a company.

What do ETF shares represent?

Each share represents an investor’s stake in all of the assets owned by the ETF, which makes buying and selling quick and straightforward. Because they track an index, asset prices do not impact returns – meaning ETFs tend to be steady performers with low volatility compared to other investments such as individual shares or managed funds. It allows for ‘long term’ holding, typically defined as more than a year.

Holding period

The holding period for ETFs is the time the investor holds the security. For most ETFs, this is generally longer than other securities types. It is due to how they are traded and how they are structured.

Buying ETFs

When an investor buys an ETF, they buy a basket of securities that the fund holds. The ETF manager will buy and sell these securities as needed to track the underlying index. It means that the price of an ETF will generally be more stable than a stock, which can move up or down based on news or individual company performance.

Why hold ETFs?

Because of this stability, most investors hold ETFs for more extended periods. ETFs can range from a few months to several years. A long-term holding period removes some of the day-to-day fluctuations that can cause problems for investors following a more volatile investment. For example, if an ETF is tracking a company on its way towards bankruptcy, it will be required to sell the stocks immediately. If the investor has chosen to hold onto the fund for several years, they are less likely to lose money on their investment.

Holding time

However, the length of time an investor holds an ETF isn’t set in stone. Some investors can hold their ETFs on a short term basis to profit off small price changes. However, the more common approach is very low activity during periods of high market volatility or dips in performance. Overall, the holding period for ETFs is more extended than for other types of securities. It allows investors to avoid short-term price fluctuations and focus on the fund’s long-term performance. While it’s possible to trade ETFs on a short-term basis, this is not the norm and should only be done after understanding all the risks involved. A long-term holding period is the best way to maximise returns and minimise losses for most investors.

Why hold ETFs for extended periods?

The reason ETFs can have long holding periods is because they are not as risky as other investments. Asset prices do not impact their returns, meaning the costs of the stocks, commodities, and currencies within the ETF remain stable. It makes it possible for investors to buy and sell without any consequences and hold on to the ETF for a very long time if they choose to. All in all, ETFs are a great investment choice for those looking for stability and long term growth potential.

Different rules defining holding periods

When receiving a gift of stock or other security, the recipient’s cost basis is determined using the donor’s basis. In addition, the recipient’s holding period runs concurrently with that of the donor. The practice of continuing holding is called “tacking on” because the recipient’s holding period adds value to the donor’s holding period. The recipient’s holding period begins on the day after receiving the gift in situations where the security’s fair market value, such as stock given as a present that has decreased in value, is used to establish a basis.

In conclusion

Hopefully, you now understand the holding period for ETFs and that you found this information helpful and informative.