Avoiding Fund Overlap in Equity Mutual Funds

25 Feb, 20243 mins read
Avoiding Fund Overlap in Equity Mutual Funds


Imagine you have a basket of different types of fruits to make a delicious fruit salad. Each type of fruit represents a different stock in your investment basket. Now, if you have multiple baskets (mutual funds) but notice that some fruits are the same in each basket, that's what we call "overlap." While having a few similar fruits is okay, too much can be a problem.

In the investing world, these "fruits" are like stocks in mutual funds. If you have too many of the same stocks in different mutual funds, it's like having too many identical fruits in your baskets. This is called "fund overlap." If you have too many of the same stocks in different mutual funds, it can be risky. It's like putting all your delicious fruits in one basket – if something happens to that basket, you might lose it all.

Explanation of Fund Overlap

When different kinds of mutual funds in an investor's portfolio have common holdings, this is referred to as fund overlap.If you have too many similar stocks in different parts of your investment and if something goes wrong with those specific types of stocks, your whole investment plan could go wrong.

Risks Associated with Overlapping Holdings

  • Concentration Risk: Too much overlap means your investments are heavily concentrated in specific stocks, industries, or sectors
  • Reduced Diversification Benefits: Overlapping holdings diminish the benefits of diversification, which is the main advantage of spreading investments across different asset classes
  • Vulnerability to Market Changes: If the shared stocks face challenges or market changes, your entire portfolio is at higher risk due to the interconnected nature of overlapping holdings.
  • Increased Sensitivity: Overlapping can make your portfolio more sensitive to the performance of specific stocks, magnifying the impact of their ups and downs on your overall investment.

Identifying Overlap

Strategies to Identify Overlap

  • Compare Fund Holdings: Review the list of holdings for each fund in your portfolio and look for common stocks or assets.
  • Utilize Online Tools: Take advantage of online tools and platforms that offer portfolio analysis and overlap detection services.
  • Consult with Financial Advisors: Seek guidance from financial advisors who can use professional tools to assess and identify overlap in your investments.
  • Regular Portfolio Review: Conduct regular reviews of your portfolio to stay vigilant about potential overlap and make adjustments as needed.

Tools and Resources: Introduce investors to tools and resources available in the market for analysing fund holdings. From portfolio overlap calculators to advanced analytics platforms, explore options that empower investors to make informed decisions.

Risk of Overlap

The risk of overlap in investment portfolios lies in the heightened concentration of assets, which can lead to a lack of diversification. When multiple funds share common holdings, the portfolio becomes more susceptible to the performance of those specific assets, increasing the risk of losses if those holdings underperform. This concentrated exposure can limit the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and may result in heightened volatility. Investors should be cautious about excessive overlap to ensure a well-balanced and resilient portfolio that can withstand various market scenarios.

Strategies to Avoid Overlap

To avoid overlap in an investment portfolio, consider implementing diversification strategies. Spread investments across different sectors, industries, and asset classes, ensuring a well-balanced mix. Regularly review and analyze fund holdings to identify and eliminate redundant stocks. Emphasize asset allocation to achieve a diverse portfolio that minimizes concentration risk. Additionally, seek guidance from financial advisors, utilize online tools for portfolio analysis, and remain vigilant in monitoring the composition of your investments to maintain a robust and diversified portfolio.

Asset Allocation Suggestions

When considering asset allocation, aim for a well-diversified portfolio by spreading investments across various asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and cash. Determine your risk tolerance, financial goals, and time horizon to guide your allocation decisions. For a balanced approach, consider dividing assets among different sectors and geographic regions. Regularly review and rebalance your portfolio to maintain the desired asset allocation in alignment with your investment objectives. Additionally, explore opportunities in alternative investments to further diversify your holdings and reduce overall risk. Consulting with financial professionals can provide tailored advice based on your specific financial situation and goals.


  1. How can mutual funds avoid overlap?

Mutual funds can avoid overlap by diversifying their holdings across different sectors, industries, and asset classes.

  1. How much overlapping in mutual funds is acceptable?

An acceptable level of overlapping in mutual funds varies, but generally, investors aim to minimize it to maintain diversification, with 5-10% overlap considered reasonable.

  1. How do you reduce portfolio overlap?

To reduce portfolio overlap, consider consolidating or replacing funds with similar holdings, diversify across asset classes, and regularly review and rebalance the portfolio.

  1. How do you calculate overlap funds?

To calculate fund overlap, identify the common holdings between two funds and divide it by the total holdings in both funds, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage overlap.

  1. Is mutual fund overlap allowed?

Yes, mutual fund overlap is allowed and can be a natural occurrence in portfolios. However, excessive overlap may lead to concentration risk, so investors should manage it to maintain effective diversification.

disclaimer: the information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. it should not be considered as personalised investment advice. each investor should do their due diligence before making any decision that may impact their financial situation and should have an investment strategy that reflects their risk profile and goals. the examples provided are for illustrative purposes. past performance does not guarantee future results. data shared from third parties is obtained from what are considered reliable sources; however, it cannot be guaranteed. any articles, daily news, analysis, and/or other information contained in the blog should not be relied upon for investment purposes. the content provided is neither an offer to sell nor purchase any security. opinions, news, research, analysis, prices, or other information contained on our blog services, or emailed to you, are provided as general market commentary. stack does not warrant that the information is accurate, reliable or complete. any third-party information provided does not reflect the views of stack. stack shall not be liable for any losses arising directly or indirectly from misuse of information. each decision as to whether a self-directed investment is appropriate or proper is an independent decision by the reader. all investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money invested.

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