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Incentives and Mutual Fund Performance: Higher Performance or Just Higher Risk Taking?

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  • Massimo Massa

Abstract

We study the impact of contractual incentives on the performance of mutual funds. We find that high-incentive contracts induce managers to take more risk and reduce the funds' probability of survival. Yet, funds with high-incentive contracts deliver higher risk-adjusted return, and the superior performance remains persistent. The top incentive quintile of funds outperforms the bottom quintile by 2.70% per year. Moreover, high-incentive winner funds from one year have a positive alpha of 0.41% per month in the following year. Focusing on funds' holdings, we show that active portfolio rebalancing is the main channel through which incentives increase performance. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Massa, 2009. "Incentives and Mutual Fund Performance: Higher Performance or Just Higher Risk Taking?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(5), pages 1777-1815, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:5:p:1777-1815
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    Cited by:

    1. Henke, Hans-Martin, 2016. "The effect of social screening on bond mutual fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 69-84.
    2. repec:eee:soceco:v:72:y:2018:i:c:p:106-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13099 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Aggarwal, Rajesh K. & Jorion, Philippe, 2010. "The performance of emerging hedge funds and managers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 238-256, May.
    5. Martin, Thorsten & Sonnenburg, Florian, 2015. "Managerial ownership changes and mutual fund performance," CFR Working Papers 16-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    6. Yang, Tianna & Hou, Wenxuan, 2016. "Pay-performance sensitivity and risk-taking behaviors: Evidence from closed-end funds," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 274-288.
    7. Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald & Kampkötter, Patrick & Steinbrecher, Johannes, 2015. "Incentive pay and bank risk-taking: Evidence from Austrian, German, and Swiss banks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 123-140.
    8. Cai, Yu & Lau, Sie Ting, 2015. "Informed trading around earnings and mutual fund alphas," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 168-180.
    9. Cogneau, Philippe & Hübner, Georges, 2015. "The prediction of fund failure through performance diagnostics," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 224-241.
    10. Cuthbertson, Keith & Nitzsche, Dirk & O'Sullivan, Niall, 2016. "A review of behavioural and management effects in mutual fund performance," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 162-176.
    11. repec:kap:jfsres:v:51:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10693-015-0234-x is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Agarwal, Vikas & Gómez, Juan-Pedro & Priestley, Richard, 2012. "Management compensation and market timing under portfolio constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1600-1625.
    13. Assaf Hamdani & Eugene Kandel & Yevgeny Mugerman & Yishay Yafeh, 2016. "Incentive Fees and Competition in Pension Funds: Evidence from a Regulatory Experiment," NBER Working Papers 22634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Makni, Rania & Benouda, Olfa & Delhoumi, Ezzedine, 2016. "International evidence on Islamic equity fund characteristics and performance persistence," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 75-82.
    15. repec:eee:jbfina:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:427-445 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Agnesens, Julius, 2013. "A statistically robust decomposition of mutual fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3867-3877.
    17. repec:eee:pacfin:v:46:y:2017:i:pb:p:269-291 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Galliera, Arianna, 2018. "Self-selecting random or cumulative pay? A bargaining experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 106-120.
    19. Juan Carlos Matallín-Sáez & Amparo Soler-Domínguez & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2014. "On the robustness of persistence in mutual fund performance," Working Papers 2014/01, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    20. Ha, Yeonjeong & Ko, Kwangsoo, 2017. "Why do fund managers increase risk?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 108-116.
    21. Jun, Xiao & Li, Mingsheng & Shi, Jing, 2014. "Volatile market condition and investor clientele effects on mutual fund flow performance relationship," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 310-334.
    22. Hamdani, Assaf & Kandel, Eugene & Mugerman, Yevgeny & Yafeh, Yishay, 2015. "Incentive Fees and Competition in Pension Funds: Evidence from a Regulatory Experiment in Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 10911, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. Arianna Galliera & Noemi Pace, 2015. "To Switch or Not to Switch Payment Scheme? Determinants and Effects in a Bargaining Game," Working Papers 2015:33, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    24. Abdelsalam, Omneya & Duygun, Meryem & Matallín-Sáez, Juan Carlos & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2014. "Do ethics imply persistence? The case of Islamic and socially responsible funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 182-194.

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