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Average Annual Return (AAR)

Average Annual Return (AAR)

What Is the Average Annual Return (AAR)?

The average annual return (AAR) is a percentage utilized while reporting the historical return, like the three-, five-, and 10-year average returns of a mutual fund. The average annual return is stated net of a fund's operating expense ratio. Furthermore, it does exclude sales charges, if applicable, or portfolio transaction brokerage commissions.

In its easiest terms, the average annual return (AAR) measures the money made or lost by a mutual fund over a given period. Investors considering a mutual fund investment will frequently survey the AAR and compare it with other comparative mutual funds as part of their mutual fund investment strategy.

Figuring out the Average Annual Return (AAR)

At the point when you are choosing a mutual fund, the average annual return is a useful aide for measuring a fund's long-term performance. In any case, investors ought to likewise take a gander at a fund's yearly performance to completely see the value in the consistency of its annual total returns.

For instance, a five-year average annual return of 10% looks alluring. Notwithstanding, if the yearly returns (those that delivered the average annual return) were +40%, +30%, - 10%, +5% and - 15% (50/5 = 10%), performance throughout recent years warrants examination of the fund's management and investment strategy.

Parts of an Average Annual Return (AAR)

There are three parts that add to the average annual return (AAR) of an equity mutual fund: share price appreciation, capital gains, and dividends.

Share Price Appreciation

Share price appreciation results from unrealized gains or losses in the underlying stocks held in a portfolio. As the share price of a stock vacillates north of a year, it proportionately adds to or degrades the AAR of the fund that keeps a holding in the issue.

For instance, the American Funds AMCAP Fund's top holding is Netflix (NFLX), which addresses 3.7% of the portfolio's net assets as of Feb. 29, 2020. Netflix is one of 199 equities in the AMCAP fund. Fund managers can add or take away assets from the fund or change the proportions of each holding on a case by case basis to meet the fund's performance objectives. The fund's combined assets have contributed to the portfolio's 10-year AAR of 11.58% through Feb. 29, 2020.

Capital Gains Distributions

Capital gains distributions paid from a mutual fund result from the generation of income or sale of stocks from which a manager understands a profit in a growth portfolio. Shareholders can opt to receive the distributions in cash or reinvest them in the fund. Capital gains are the realized portion of AAR. The distribution, which reduces share price by the dollar amount paid out, addresses a taxable gain for shareholders.

A fund can have a negative AAR nevertheless make taxable distributions. The Wells Fargo Discovery Fund paid a capital gain of $2.59 on Dec. 11, 2015, notwithstanding the fund having an AAR of negative 1.48%.


Quarterly dividends paid from company earnings add to a mutual fund's AAR and furthermore reduce the value of a portfolio's net asset value (NAV). Like capital gains, dividend income received from the portfolio can be reinvested or taken in cash.

[Enormous cap stock funds](/huge cap) with positive earnings regularly pay dividends to individual and institutional shareholders. These quarterly distributions contain the dividend yield part of a mutual fund's AAR. The T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth Fund has a trailing year yield of 1.36%, a contributing factor to the fund's three-year AAR of 15.65% through Feb. 29, 2020.

Special Considerations

Working out an average annual return is a lot less difficult than the average annual rate of return, which utilizes a geometric average rather than a standard mean. The formula is: [(1+r1) x (1+r2) x (1+r3) x ... x (1+ri)] (1/n) - 1, where r is the annual rate of return and n is the number of years in the period.

The average annual return is in some cases considered less helpful for giving an image of the performance of a fund since returns compound as opposed to join. Investors must pay consideration while taking a gander at mutual funds to compare similar types of returns for each fund.


  • The average annual return (AAR) is a percentage that addresses a mutual fund's historical average return, generally stated more than three-, five-, and 10 years.
  • Before making a mutual fund investment, investors as often as possible survey a mutual fund's average annual return as a method for measuring the fund's long-term performance.
  • The three parts that add to the average annual return of a mutual fund are share price appreciation, capital gains, and dividends.