IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Investors’ Misperception: A Hidden Source of High Markups in the Mutual Fund Industry


  • Shengsui HU

    (ETH Zurich)

  • Yannick MALEVERGNE

    (University of Saint-Etienne and EM-Lyon Business School)

  • Didier SORNETTE

    (ETH Zurich and Swiss Finance Institute)


We develop a principal-agent model based on a sequential game played by a representative investor and a fund manager in an asymmetric information framework. The model shows that investors’ perceptions of the fund market play the key role in the fund’s fee-setting mechanism. The managers’ true ability to deliver performance is not relevant. Along with a simple relation between fees and funds’ performance, empirical evidence suggests that most U.S. domestic equity mutual funds have added high markups in recent years. We show that, for these fees to be justified, investors would have expected the fund managers to be able to deliver an overall annual excess-return of around 3% over the S&P 500, net of fees, irrespective of the investment style and of the risk level of the funds. Therefore, we interpret these high markups as resulting from the investors’ optimism bias whose root can be found in their lack of financial literacy as well as in funds’ marketing effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Shengsui HU & Yannick MALEVERGNE & Didier SORNETTE, "undated". "Investors’ Misperception: A Hidden Source of High Markups in the Mutual Fund Industry," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 09-04, Swiss Finance Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp0904

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Semushin, Anton & Parshakov, Petr, 2012. "Data frequency and mutual fund performance measures," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 25(1), pages 95-114.

    More about this item


    Mutual Fund Fees; Mutual Funds; Asymmetric Information; Principal-Agent Relationships; Markup; Optimism Bias;

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp0904. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marilyn Barja). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.