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Portfolio Performance and Agency

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  • Philip H. Dybvig
  • Heber K. Farnsworth
  • Jennifer N. Carpenter

Abstract

In this paper we analyze the optimal contract for a portfolio manager who can exert effort to improve the quality of a private signal about future market prices. We assume complete markets over states distinguished by asset payoffs and place no restrictions on the form of the contract. We show that trading restrictions are essential because they prevent the manager from undoing the incentive effects of performance-based fees. We provide conditions under which simple benchmarking emerges as optimal compensation. Additional incentives to take risk are necessary when information can be manipulated or else the manager will understate information to offset the benchmarking. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip H. Dybvig & Heber K. Farnsworth & Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2010. "Portfolio Performance and Agency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 1-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:23:y:2010:i:1:p:1-23
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhp056
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
    2. Admati, Anat R & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1997. "Does It All Add Up? Benchmarks and the Compensation of Active Portfolio Managers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(3), pages 323-350, July.
    3. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    6. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Jaeyoung Sung, 1995. "Linearity with Project Selection and Controllable Diffusion Rate in Continuous-Time Principal-Agent Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 720-743, Winter.
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