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Market frictions, investor heterogeneity and persistence in mutual fund performance

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Abstract

If there are diseconomies of scale in asset management, any predictability in mutual fund performance will be arbitraged away by rational investors seeking funds with the highest expected performance (Berk and Green, 2004). In contrast, the performance of equity mutual funds persists through time. In this paper, we show how market frictions can reconcile the assumptions of investor rationality and diseconomies of scale with the empirical evidence. More specifically, we extend the model of Berk and Green (2004) to account for financial constraints and heterogeneity in investors’ reservation returns reflecting the idea that less financially sophisticated investors face higher search costs. In our model, both negative and positive expected fund performance are possible in equilibrium. The model also predicts that expected fund performance increases with managerial ability and explains why predictable differences in performance across funds are more prevalent in markets populated by less sophisticated investors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariadna Dumitrescu & Javier Gil-Bazo, 2012. "Market frictions, investor heterogeneity and persistence in mutual fund performance," Economics Working Papers 1473, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1473
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yan, Xuemin (Sterling), 2008. "Liquidity, Investment Style, and the Relation between Fund Size and Fund Performance," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(03), pages 741-767, September.
    2. Susan E. K. Christoffersen & David K. Musto, 2002. "Demand Curves and the Pricing of Money Management," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(5), pages 1499-1524.
    3. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    4. Gil-Bazo, Javier & Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo, 2008. "When cheaper is better: Fee determination in the market for equity mutual funds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 871-885.
    5. Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
    6. Joseph Chen & Harrison Hong & Ming Huang & Jeffrey D. Kubik, 2004. "Does Fund Size Erode Mutual Fund Performance? The Role of Liquidity and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1276-1302, December.
    7. Navone, Marco, 2012. "Investors’ distraction and strategic repricing decisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1291-1303.
    8. Navone, Marco, 2012. "Reprint of Investors’ distraction and strategic repricing decisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2729-2741.
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    Keywords

    mutual fund performance persistence; market frictions; investor sophistication.;

    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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