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Alternative Benchmarks for Evaluating Mutual Fund Performance

Author

Listed:
  • Jay C. Hartzell
  • Tobias Mühlhofer
  • Sheridan D. Titman

Abstract

While real estate investment trusts (REITs) have experienced very high growth rates over the past 15 years, the growth in mutual funds that invest in REITs has been even more dramatic. REIT mutual fund returns are typically presented relative to the return on a simple value-weighted REIT index. We ask whether including additional factors when benchmarking funds' returns can improve the explanatory power of the models and offer more precise estimates of alpha. We investigate three sets of REIT-based benchmarks, plus an index of returns derived from non-REIT real estate firms, namely homebuilders and real estate operating companies. The REIT-based factors are a set of characteristic factors, a set of property-type factors and a set of statistical factors. Using traditional single-index benchmarks, we find that about 6% of the REIT funds exhibit significant positive performance using traditional significance levels, which is more than twice what random chance would predict. However, with the multiple-index benchmarks that we prefer, this falls considerably to only 0.7%. In addition, we find that these sets of factors and the non-REIT indices better explain the month-to-month returns of the REIT mutual funds. This suggests that investors or researchers evaluating REIT mutual fund performance may benefit from a multiple-benchmark approach. Copyright (c) 2009 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Jay C. Hartzell & Tobias Mühlhofer & Sheridan D. Titman, 2010. "Alternative Benchmarks for Evaluating Mutual Fund Performance," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 121-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:121-154
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6229.2009.00253.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kallberg, Jarl G. & Liu, Crocker L. & Trzcinka, Charles, 2000. "The Value Added from Investment Managers: An Examination of Funds of REITs," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 387-408, September.
    2. Michael C. Jensen, 1968. "The Performance Of Mutual Funds In The Period 1945–1964," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 23(2), pages 389-416, May.
    3. David Geltner & Brian Kluger, 1998. "REIT-Based Pure-Play Portfolios: The Case of Property Types," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 581-612.
    4. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan, 1994. "A Study of Monthly Mutual Fund Returns and Performance Evaluation Techniques," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 419-444, September.
    5. Jensen, Michael C, 1969. "Risk, The Pricing of Capital Assets, and the Evaluation of Investment Portfolios," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 167-247, April.
    6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    7. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N, 1995. " Performance Persistence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 679-698, June.
    8. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    9. Daniel, Kent, et al, 1997. " Measuring Mutual Fund Performance with Characteristic-Based Benchmarks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1035-1058, July.
    10. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-636, May-June.
    11. John G. Gallo & Larry J. Lockwood & Mauricio Rodriguez, 2006. "Differentiating CREF Performance," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 173-209, June.
    12. Roll, Richard, 1978. "Ambiguity when Performance is Measured by the Securities Market Line," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1051-1069, September.
    13. Crystal Yan Lin & Kenneth Yung, 2004. "Real Estate Mutual Funds: Performance and Persistence," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 26(1), pages 69-94.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wen-Hsiu Chou & William Hardin, 2014. "Performance Chasing, Fund Flows and Fund Size in Real Estate Mutual Funds," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 379-412, October.
    2. repec:kap:jrefec:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11146-016-9573-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:kap:jrefec:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11146-016-9572-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Brent Ambrose & Charles Cao & Walter D’Lima, 2016. "Real Estate Risk and Hedge Fund Returns," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 197-225, April.
    5. Andonov, Aleksandar & Eichholtz, Piet & Kok, Nils, 2015. "Intermediated investment management in private markets: Evidence from pension fund investments in real estate," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 73-103.
    6. Abhay Kaushik & Anita K. Pennathur, 2013. "Performance And New Money Cash Flows In Real Estate Mutual Funds," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 453-470, December.
    7. Elizabeth Ooi & Paul Lajbcygier, 2013. "Virtue Remains After Removing Sin: Finding Skill Amongst Socially Responsible Investment Managers," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 199-224, March.
    8. repec:kap:jrefec:v:56:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11146-017-9601-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. James Chong & Alexandra Krystalogianni & Simon Stevenson, 2012. "Dynamic correlations between REIT sub-sectors and the implications for diversification," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(13), pages 1089-1109, July.

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