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Incentive Contracts and Hedge Fund Management

  • Jens Carsten Jackwerth
  • James Hodder

This paper investigates dynamically optimal risk-taking by an expected-utility maximizing manager of a hedge fund. We examine the effects of variations on a compensation structure that includes a percentage management fee, a performance incentive for exceeding a specified highwater mark, and managerial ownership of fund shares. In our basic model, there is an exogenous liquidation barrier where the fund is shut down due to poor performance. We also consider extensions where the manager can voluntarily choose to shut down the fund as well as to enhance the fund’s Sharpe Ratio through additional effort. We find managerial risk-taking which differs considerably from the optimal risk-taking for a fund investor with the same utility function. In some portions of the state space, the manager takes extreme risks. In another area, she pursues a lock-in style strategy. Indeed, the manager’s optimal behavior even results in a trimodal return distribution. We find that seemingly minor changes in the compensation structure can have major implications for risk-taking. Additionally, we are able to compare results from our more general model with those from several recent papers that turn out to be focused on differing parts of the larger picture.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/research/wfri/rsrchcentres/ferc/wrkingpaprseries/fwp05-10.pdf
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Paper provided by Warwick Business School, Finance Group in its series Working Papers with number wp05-10.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbs:wpaper:wp05-10
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  1. 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.
  2. Alex Shapiro & Suleyman Basak & Anna Pavlova, 2004. "Offsetting the Incentives: Risk Shifting and Benefits of Benchmarking in Money Management," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 583, Econometric Society.
  3. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
  4. Jennifer Carpenter, 1999. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-076, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  5. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A, 1997. "Empirical Characteristics of Dynamic Trading Strategies: The Case of Hedge Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 275-302.
  6. Stephen J. Brown, 2001. "Careers and Survival: Competition and Risk in the Hedge Fund and CTA Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1869-1886, October.
  7. Stavros Panageas & Mark M. Westerfield, 2009. "High-Water Marks: High Risk Appetites? Convex Compensation, Long Horizons, and Portfolio Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 1-36, 02.
  8. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Fried, Jesse M., 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt81q3136r, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  9. William N. Goetzmann & Jonathan E. Ingersoll, Jr. & Stephen A. Ross, 2004. "High Water Marks," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm22, Yale School of Management.
  10. Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. William N. Goetzmann & Jonathan E. Ingersoll & Stephen A. Ross, 2003. "High-Water Marks and Hedge Fund Management Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1685-1718, 08.
  12. Stephen A. Ross, 2004. "Compensation, Incentives, and the Duality of Risk Aversion and Riskiness," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 207-225, 02.
  13. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," CEPR Discussion Papers 3961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  15. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
  16. Basak, Suleyman & Shapiro, Alex & Teplá, Lucie, 2005. "Risk Management with Benchmarking," CEPR Discussion Papers 5187, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 1999. "A primer on hedge funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-331, September.
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