• Investor behaviour;
  • performance evaluation;
  • panel data models
  • G11;
  • D14;
  • C33


I explore cross-sectional portfolio performance in a sample containing 324,736 transactions conducted by 16,831 Swedish 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. I argue that the degree of diversification is a proxy for investor skill, and it has a separate and distinct positive effect on performance. Investors underperform the market by about 8.5% per year on average, of which half can be attributed to trading costs.