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Bayesian Performance Evaluation

Author

Listed:
  • Klaas Baks
  • Andrew Metrick
  • Jessica Wachter

Abstract

This paper proposes a Bayesian method of performance evaluation for investment managers. We begin with a flexible set of prior beliefs that can be elicited without any reference to probability distributions or their parameters. We then combine these prior beliefs with a general multi-factor model and derive an analytical solution for the posterior expectation of alpha', the intercept term from the model. This solution can be computed using only a few extra steps beyond maximum likelihood estimation and does not require a comprehensive or bias-free database. We then apply our methodology to a sample of domestic diversified equity mutual funds and ask what prior beliefs would imply zero investment in active managers?' To justify such a zero-investment strategy, we find that a mean-variance investor would need to believe that less than 1 out of every 100,000 managers has an expected alpha greater than 25 basis points per month. Overall, our analysis suggests that even when the average manager is expected to underperform passive benchmarks, it requires very strong prior beliefs to imply zero investment in managers with the best past performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaas Baks & Andrew Metrick & Jessica Wachter, 1999. "Bayesian Performance Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 7069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7069
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shanken, Jay, 1987. "A Bayesian approach to testing portfolio efficiency," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 195-215, December.
    2. Klein, Roger W. & Bawa, Vijay S., 1976. "The effect of estimation risk on optimal portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 215-231, June.
    3. Kandel, Shmuel & McCulloch, Robert & Stambaugh, Robert F, 1995. "Bayesian Inference and Portfolio Efficiency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(1), pages 1-53.
    4. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1997. "Analyzing investments whose histories differ in length," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 285-331, September.
    5. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N, 1995. " Performance Persistence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 679-698, June.
    6. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F, 1996. " On the Predictability of Stock Returns: An Asset-Allocation Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 385-424, June.
    7. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Are Some Mutual Fund Managers Better Than Others? Cross-Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 875-899, June.
    8. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    9. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2000. "Comparing asset pricing models: an investment perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 335-381, June.
    10. Keim, Donald B. & Madhavan, Ananth, 1997. "Transactions costs and investment style: an inter-exchange analysis of institutional equity trades," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 265-292, December.
    11. Lubos Pástor & Robert F. Stambaugh, 1999. "Costs of Equity Capital and Model Mispricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 67-121, February.
    12. repec:fth:pennfi:72 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ferson, Wayne E & Schadt, Rudi W, 1996. " Measuring Fund Strategy and Performance in Changing Economic Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 425-461, June.
    14. Jorion, Philippe, 1985. "International Portfolio Diversification with Estimation Risk," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 259-278, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lubos Pastor & Robert F. Stambaugh, "undated". "Evaluating and Investing in Equity Mutual Funds," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-00, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    2. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2005. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1983-2011, August.
    3. JOSHUA D. COVAL & David Hirshleifer & TYLER G. SHUMWAY, 2004. "Can Individual Investors Beat the Market?," Finance 0412005, EconWPA.
    4. Klaas P. Baks, 2001. "Should Investors Avoid All Actively Managed Mutual Funds? A Study in Bayesian Performance Evaluation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 45-85, February.
    5. Baker, Malcolm & Litov, Lubomir & Wachter, Jessica A. & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2010. "Can Mutual Fund Managers Pick Stocks? Evidence from Their Trades Prior to Earnings Announcements," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1111-1131, October.
    6. Slavutskaya, Anna, 2013. "Short-term hedge fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4404-4431.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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