Mutual Fund Styles
In this paper, we find that existing classifications do a poor job at forecasting differences in future performance. We propose a different method for grouping mutual funds which is relatively impervious to strategic "gaming" of benchmarks. In particular, it captures active portfolio management strategies, rather than relying upon the fund composition observed at specific points in time. As a result of our classification, we find that equity fund managers broadly fall into some familiar and not-so-familiarpatterns of behavior. The familiar patterns include "Small-Cap", "Growth", "Growth and Income", "Income" and "International" styles. The unfamiliar styles resemble "Timers," "Value" and "Glamour" managers. This new categorization does a superior job at forecasting future differences in mutual fund performance, and reveals something about the aggregate behavior of mutual fund managers as well. In addition, we find some preliminary evidence that funds which changed their self-reported classification improved their position relative to their new benchmark.
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