Total return

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

All the various sources of earnings on an investment, interest, dividends and capital appreciation, are collectively referred to as "total return" as it represents the entire economic benefit from a securities portfolio. To comport with modern portfolio theory, many trusts are structured as total return trusts which pay a percentage of each year's principal balance of the trust to the current beneficiary (rather than using the name income beneficiary (uni-trust).

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