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Fund Liquidation, Self-selection, and Look-ahead Bias in the Hedge Fund Industry


  • Jenke Ter Horst
  • Marno Verbeek


A wide range of empirical biases hampers hedge fund databases. In this paper we focus upon survival-related biases and disentangle look-ahead biases due to self-selection of funds and due to fund termination. Self-selection arises because funds voluntarily report their information to data vendors and may decide to stop doing so. By extending existing methodology, we analyze persistence in hedge fund performance over the period 1994-2000, taking into account the above biases. The results show that look-ahead biases due to liquidation and self-selection enforce each other and may lead to overestimating expected returns by as much as 8% per year. Overall, the results are consistent with positive persistence in hedge fund returns at horizons of two and four quarters. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenke Ter Horst & Marno Verbeek, 2007. "Fund Liquidation, Self-selection, and Look-ahead Bias in the Hedge Fund Industry," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 11(4), pages 605-632.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:11:y:2007:i:4:p:605-632

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jenke Ter Horst & Marno Verbeek, 2000. "Estimating Short-Run Persistence In Mutual Fund Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 646-655, November.
    2. Daniel Capocci, 2002. "An Analysis of Hedge Fund Performance," Finance 0210001, EconWPA.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. ter Horst, Jenke R. & Nijman, Theo E. & Verbeek, Marno, 2001. "Eliminating look-ahead bias in evaluating persistence in mutual fund performance," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 345-373, September.
    6. Agarwal, Vikas & Naik, Narayan Y., 2000. "Multi-Period Performance Persistence Analysis of Hedge Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 327-342, September.
    7. Stephen J. Brown, 2001. "Careers and Survival: Competition and Risk in the Hedge Fund and CTA Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1869-1886, October.
    8. Brown, Stephen J, et al, 1992. "Survivorship Bias in Performance Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 553-580.
    9. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A, 1997. "Empirical Characteristics of Dynamic Trading Strategies: The Case of Hedge Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 275-302.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Rohleder & Hendrik Scholz & Marco Wilkens, 2010. "Survivorship Bias and Mutual Fund Performance: Relevance, Significance, and Methodical Differences," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 15(2), pages 441-474.
    2. Guillermo Baquero & Marno Verbeek, 2015. "Hedge fund flows and performance streaks: How investors weigh information," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-15-01, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    3. Hodder, James E. & Jackwerth, Jens Carsten & Kolokolova, Olga, 2014. "Recovering Delisting Returns of Hedge Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 797-815, June.
    4. Agarwal, Vikas & Fos, Vyacheslav & Jiang, Wei, 2012. "Inferring reporting biases in hedge fund databases from hedge fund equity holdings," CFR Working Papers 10-08 [rev.], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    5. Mila Getmansky & Peter A. Lee & Andrew W. Lo, 2015. "Hedge Funds: A Dynamic Industry In Transition," NBER Working Papers 21449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Martin Rohleder, 2015. "The Relation between Past Flows and Future Performance: Simple Investment Strategies in the Mutual Fund Sector," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-28, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics


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