Agency costs, governance, and organizational forms: Evidence from the mutual fund industry
Using a comprehensive sample of mutual funds and fund families for the period 1992-2004, this study examines the impact of fund management companies' organizational forms on the level of agency costs within mutual funds. We find that, all else being equal: (1) funds managed by public fund families charge higher fees than those managed by private fund families; (2) public fund families acquire more funds than private fund families; and (3) funds of public fund families significantly underperform funds of private fund families. Collectively, these findings suggest that agency costs are higher in mutual funds managed by public fund families. Our results are consistent with the idea that the agency conflict between the fund management company and fund shareholders is more acute for public management companies because of their shorter-term focus.
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