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Offsetting the Incentives: Risk Shifting and Benefits of Benchmarking in Money Management

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  • Basak, Suleyman
  • Pavlova, Anna
  • Shapiro, Alex

Abstract

Money managers are rewarded for increasing the value of assets under management, and predominantly so in the mutual fund industry. This gives the manager an implicit incentive to exploit the well-documented positive fund-flows to relative-performance relationship by manipulating her risk exposure. In a dynamic portfolio choice framework, we show that as the year-end approaches, the ensuing convexities in the manager's objective induce her to closely mimic the index, relative to which her performance is evaluated, when the fund's year-to-date return is sufficiently high. As her relative performance falls behind, she chooses to deviate from the index by either increasing or decreasing the volatility of her portfolio. The maximum deviation is achieved at a critical level of underperformance. It may be optimal for the manager to reach such deviation via selling the risky asset despite its positive risk premium. Under multiple sources of risk, with both systematic and idiosyncratic risks present, we show that optimal managerial risk shifting may not necessarily involve taking on any idiosyncratic risk. Costs of misaligned incentives to investors resulting from the manager's policy are economically significant. We then demonstrate how a simple risk management practice that accounts for benchmarking can ameliorate the adverse effects of managerial incentives.

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  • Basak, Suleyman & Pavlova, Anna & Shapiro, Alex, 2005. "Offsetting the Incentives: Risk Shifting and Benefits of Benchmarking in Money Management," CEPR Discussion Papers 5006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5006
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    Cited by:

    1. Livio Stracca, 2006. "Delegated Portfolio Management: A Survey Of The Theoretical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 823-848, December.
    2. Ming Fang & Rui Zhong, 2004. "Default Risk, Firm's Characteristics, and Risk Shifting," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2461, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Mar 2005.
    3. Suleyman Basak & Alex Shapiro & Lucie Teplá, 2006. "Risk Management with Benchmarking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 542-557, April.
    4. Thomas P. Gehrig & Torben Lütje & Lukas Menkhoff, 2009. "Bonus Payments and Fund Managers' Behavior: Transatlantic Evidence," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(3-4), pages 569-594.
    5. Lewellen, Katharina, 2004. "Financing Decisions When Managers Are Risk Averse," Working papers 4438-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    6. Vikash Ramiah & Imad Moosa & Ben O'Neill & Milica Backulja & Amel Yacoub & Terry Hallahan & John Vaz, 2012. "Tournament behaviour in Malaysian managed funds," International Journal of Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(4), pages 381-399, September.
    7. Suleyman Basak & Anna Pavlova & Alexander Shapiro, 2007. "Optimal Asset Allocation and Risk Shifting in Money Management," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(5), pages 1583-1621, 2007 21.
    8. Jose Luiz Barros Fernandes & Juan Ignacio Pena & Benjamin Miranda Tabak, 2010. "Delegated portfolio management and risk-taking behavior," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 353-372.
    9. Vayanos, Dimitri, 2004. "Flight to quality, flight to liquidity, and the pricing of risk," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 456, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Pavlova, Anna & Rigobon, Roberto, 2005. "Wealth Transfers, Contagion and Portfolio Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 5117, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Castaneda, Pablo, 2005. "Portfolio Choice and Benchmarking: The Case of the Unemployment Insurance Fund in Chile," MPRA Paper 3346, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Dec 2006.
    12. JULES H. van BINSBERGEN & MICHAEL W. BRANDT & RALPH S. J. KOIJEN, 2008. "Optimal Decentralized Investment Management," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1849-1895, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    benchmarking; fund flows; implicit incentives; portfolio choice; risk management; risk taking;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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