The economics of the mutual fund trading scandal
AbstractI examine the economic incentives behind the mutual fund trading scandal, which made headlines in late 2003 with news that several asset management companies had arranged to allow abusive--and, in some cases, illegal--trades in their mutual funds. Most of the gains from these trades went to the traders who pursued market-timing and late-trading strategies. The costs were largely borne by buy-and-hold investors, and, eventually, by the management companies themselves. ; A puzzle emerges when one examines the scandal from the perspective of those management companies. In the short run, they collected additional fee revenue from arrangements allowing abusive trades. When those deals were revealed, investors redeemed shares en masse and revenues plummeted; management companies clearly made poor decisions, ex post. However, my analysis indicates that those arrangements were also uneconomic, ex ante, because--even if the management companies had expected never to be caught--estimated revenue from the deals fell well short of the present value of expected lost revenues due to poor performance in abused funds. ; Why some of the mutual fund industry's largest firms chose to collude with abusive traders remains something of a mystery. I explore several possible explanations, including owner-manager conflicts of interest within management companies (between their shareholders and the executives who benefitted from short-term asset growth), but none fully resolves the puzzle. Management companies' decisions to allow abuses that harmed themselves as well as mutual fund shareholders convey a broader lesson, that shareholders, customers, and fiduciary clients be cautious about relying too heavily on firms' own self-interest to govern their behavior.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2009-06.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-02-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2009-02-07 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MST-2009-02-07 (Market Microstructure)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ippolito, Richard A, 1992. "Consumer Reaction to Measures of Poor Quality: Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-70, April.
- Goetzmann, William N. & Ivković, Zoran & Rouwenhorst, K. Geert, 2001.
"Day Trading International Mutual Funds: Evidence and Policy Solutions,"
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(03), pages 287-309, September.
- William Goetzmann & Zoran Ivkovich & K. Rouwenhorst, 2000. "Day Trading International Mutual Funds: Evidence And Policy Solutions," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm138, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jun 2001.
- Chevalier, J. & Ellison, G., 1996.
"Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives,"
96-3, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
- Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2002.
"Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets,"
FAME Research Paper Series
rp100, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
- Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2004. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1269-1295, December.
- Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2002. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," NBER Working Papers 9275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
- John M. R. Chalmers, 2001. "On the Perils of Financial Intermediaries Setting Security Prices: The Mutual Fund Wild Card Option," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2209-2236, December.
- Rahul Bhargava & Ann Bose & David A. Dubofsky, 1998. "Exploiting International Stock Market Correlations with Open-end International Mutual Funds," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5&6), pages 765-773.
- Eric Zitzewitz, 2005.
"How Widespread is Late Trading in Mutual Funds?,"
- Paula A. Tkac, 2004. "Mutual funds: temporary problem or permanent morass?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 4, pages 1-21.
- Guercio, Diane Del & Tkac, Paula A., 2002. "The Determinants of the Flow of Funds of Managed Portfolios: Mutual Funds vs. Pension Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(04), pages 523-557, December.
- Susan E. K. Christoffersen, 2001. "Why Do Money Fund Managers Voluntarily Waive Their Fees?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(3), pages 1117-1140, 06.
- Greene, Jason T. & Hodges, Charles W., 2002. "The dilution impact of daily fund flows on open-end mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 131-158, July.
- Lyon, Andrew B, 1984. " Money Market Funds and Shareholder Dilution," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1011-20, September.
- Zitzewitz, Eric, 2002.
"Who Cares About Shareholders? Arbitrage-Proofing Mutual Funds,"
1749, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Eric Zitzewitz, 2003. "Who Cares About Shareholders? Arbitrage-Proofing Mutual Funds," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 245-280, October.
- David S. Lee & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Crime, Punishment, and Myopia," NBER Working Papers 11491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
- Edelen, Roger M., 1999. "Investor flows and the assessed performance of open-end mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 439-466, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.