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Optimal Asset Allocation and Risk Shifting in Money Management


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


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 the ensuing convexities in the manager's objective give rise to a finite risk-shifting range over which she gambles to finish ahead of her benchmark. Such gambling entails either an increase or a decrease in the volatility of the manager's portfolio, depending on her risk tolerance. In the latter case, the manager reduces her holdings of the risky asset despite its positive risk premium. Our empirical analysis lends support to the novel predictions of the model. 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 demonstrated to be economically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Basak, Suleyman & Pavlova, Anna & Shapiro, Alex, 2006. "Optimal Asset Allocation and Risk Shifting in Money Management," CEPR Discussion Papers 5524, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5524

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    fund flows; implicit incentives; portfolio choice; relative performance; 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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