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What Happened To The Quants In August 2007?: Evidence from Factors and Transactions Data

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  • Amir E. Khandani
  • Andrew W. Lo

Abstract

During the week of August 6, 2007, a number of quantitative long/short equity hedge funds experienced unprecedented losses. It has been hypothesized that a coordinated deleveraging of similarly constructed portfolios caused this temporary dislocation in the market. Using the simulated returns of long/short equity portfolios based on five specific valuation factors, we find evidence that the unwinding of these portfolios began in July 2007 and continued until the end of 2007. Using transactions data, we find that the simulated returns of a simple marketmaking strategy were significantly negative during the week of August 6, 2007, but positive before and after, suggesting that the Quant Meltdown of August 2007 was the combined effects of portfolio deleveraging throughout July and the first week of August, and a temporary withdrawal of marketmaking risk capital starting August 8th. Our simulations point to two unwinds---a mini-unwind on August 1st starting at 10:45am and ending at 11:30am, and a more sustained unwind starting at the open on August 6th and ending at 1:00pm---that began with stocks in the financial sector and long Book-to-Market and short Earnings Momentum. These conjectures have significant implications for the systemic risks posed by the hedge-fund industry.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14465.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Publication status: published as Khandani, Amir E. & Lo, Andrew W., 2011. "What happened to the quants in August 2007? Evidence from factors and transactions data," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-46, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14465

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Cited by:
  1. Angelidis, Timotheos & Giamouridis, Daniel & Tessaromatis, Nikolaos, 2013. "Revisiting mutual fund performance evaluation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1759-1776.
  2. Ozsoylev, Han N. & Walden, Johan, 2011. "Asset pricing in large information networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2252-2280.
  3. Wolfgang Bessler & Julian Holler & Philipp Kurmann, 2012. "Hedge funds and optimal asset allocation: Bayesian expectations and spanning tests," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 109-141, March.
  4. Andrew W Lo, 2009. "Regulatory reform in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008," Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 4-43, April.
  5. Karolyi, G. Andrew & Lee, Kuan-Hui & van Dijk, Mathijs A., 2012. "Understanding commonality in liquidity around the world," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 82-112.
  6. Sheng Guo, 2014. "Margin Requirements and Portfolio Optimization: A Geometric Approach," Working Papers 1406, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  7. Akay, Ozgur (Ozzy) & Senyuz, Zeynep & Yoldas, Emre, 2013. "Hedge fund contagion and risk-adjusted returns: A Markov-switching dynamic factor approach," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 16-29.
  8. Benos, Evangelos & Wetherilt, Anne, 2012. "The role of designated market makers in the new trading landscape," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 52(4), pages 343-353.
  9. Augusto de la Torre & Alain Ize, 2010. "Regulatory Reform: Integrating Paradigms," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 109-139, 03.
  10. Peter Christoffersen & Hugues Langlois, 2011. "The Joint Dynamics of Equity Market Factors," CREATES Research Papers 2011-45, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.

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