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What Happened To The Quants In August 2007?: Evidence from Factors and Transactions Data

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  • Amir E. Khandani
  • Andrew W. Lo

Abstract

During the week of August 6, 2007, a number of quantitative long/short equity hedge funds experienced unprecedented losses. It has been hypothesized that a coordinated deleveraging of similarly constructed portfolios caused this temporary dislocation in the market. Using the simulated returns of long/short equity portfolios based on five specific valuation factors, we find evidence that the unwinding of these portfolios began in July 2007 and continued until the end of 2007. Using transactions data, we find that the simulated returns of a simple marketmaking strategy were significantly negative during the week of August 6, 2007, but positive before and after, suggesting that the Quant Meltdown of August 2007 was the combined effects of portfolio deleveraging throughout July and the first week of August, and a temporary withdrawal of marketmaking risk capital starting August 8th. Our simulations point to two unwinds---a mini-unwind on August 1st starting at 10:45am and ending at 11:30am, and a more sustained unwind starting at the open on August 6th and ending at 1:00pm---that began with stocks in the financial sector and long Book-to-Market and short Earnings Momentum. These conjectures have significant implications for the systemic risks posed by the hedge-fund industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Amir E. Khandani & Andrew W. Lo, 2008. "What Happened To The Quants In August 2007?: Evidence from Factors and Transactions Data," NBER Working Papers 14465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14465
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    Cited by:

    1. Wolfgang Bessler & Julian Holler & Philipp Kurmann, 2012. "Hedge funds and optimal asset allocation: Bayesian expectations and spanning tests," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 26(1), pages 109-141, March.
    2. Andrew W. Lo, 2009. "Regulatory reform in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008," Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 4-43, April.
    3. Angelidis, Timotheos & Giamouridis, Daniel & Tessaromatis, Nikolaos, 2013. "Revisiting mutual fund performance evaluation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1759-1776.
    4. Benos, Evangelos & Wetherilt, Anne, 2012. "The role of designated market makers in the new trading landscape," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 52(4), pages 343-353.
    5. Petri Jylhä & Kalle Rinne & Matti Suominen, 2014. "Do Hedge Funds Supply or Demand Liquidity?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 18(4), pages 1259-1298.
    6. repec:eee:empfin:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:304-315 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Christoffersen, Peter & Langlois, Hugues, 2013. "The Joint Dynamics of Equity Market Factors," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(05), pages 1371-1404, October.
    8. Giovanni Cespa & Xavier Vives, 2015. "The Beauty Contest and Short-Term Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(5), pages 2099-2154, October.
    9. Funga, William & Hsiehb, David A., 2013. "Hedge Funds," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    10. Krauss, Christopher & Do, Xuan Anh & Huck, Nicolas, 2017. "Deep neural networks, gradient-boosted trees, random forests: Statistical arbitrage on the S&P 500," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(2), pages 689-702.
    11. Sheng Guo, 2014. "Margin Requirements and Portfolio Optimization: A Geometric Approach," Working Papers 1406, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
    12. Ozsoylev, Han N. & Walden, Johan, 2011. "Asset pricing in large information networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2252-2280.
    13. Augusto de la Torre & Alain Ize, 2010. "Regulatory Reform: Integrating Paradigms," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 109-139, March.
    14. Adam Zawadowski & Peter Kondor, 2016. "Learning in Crowded Markets," 2016 Meeting Papers 338, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. Akay, Ozgur (Ozzy) & Senyuz, Zeynep & Yoldas, Emre, 2013. "Hedge fund contagion and risk-adjusted returns: A Markov-switching dynamic factor approach," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 16-29.
    16. Karolyi, G. Andrew & Lee, Kuan-Hui & van Dijk, Mathijs A., 2012. "Understanding commonality in liquidity around the world," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 82-112.
    17. Silva, Walmir & Kimura, Herbert & Sobreiro, Vinicius Amorim, 2017. "An analysis of the literature on systemic financial risk: A survey," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 91-114.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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