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Window dressing in mutual funds

Author

Listed:
  • Agarwal, Vikas
  • Gay, Gerald D.
  • Ling, Leng

Abstract

This paper introduces two measures to investigate potential window-dressing behavior among mutual fund managers. We show that unskilled managers that perform poorly are more likely to window dress by strategically purchasing winner stocks and selling loser stocks near quarter ends. Further, funds with higher expense ratios and greater portfolio turnover are associated with more window dressing. We also find that funds involved in window dressing perform poorly in the following quarter. Given these adverse effects, we demonstrate how window dressing can exist in equilibrium. Current reporting requirements allow managers up to 60 days' delay to report end of quarter portfolio holdings. We show how window-dressing managers can benefit from incrementally higher fund flows if good performance is realized during the delay period. However, we find that poor performance results in incrementally lower flows than that observed for non-window dressing managers.

Suggested Citation

  • Agarwal, Vikas & Gay, Gerald D. & Ling, Leng, 2011. "Window dressing in mutual funds," CFR Working Papers 11-07, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:1107
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2008. "Unobserved Actions of Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(6), pages 2379-2416, November.
    2. Marcin Kacperczyk & Amit Seru, 2007. "Fund Manager Use of Public Information: New Evidence on Managerial Skills," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 485-528, April.
    3. Randolph B. Cohen & Joshua D. Coval & Lubos Pástor, 2005. "Judging Fund Managers by the Company They Keep," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1057-1096, June.
    4. Mark M. Carhart & Ron Kaniel & David K. Musto & Adam V. Reed, 2002. "Leaning for the Tape: Evidence of Gaming Behavior in Equity Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 661-693, April.
    5. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Gordon J. Alexander & Gjergji Cici & Scott Gibson, 2007. "Does Motivation Matter When Assessing Trade Performance? An Analysis of Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(1), pages 125-150, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Frank, Mary Margaret & Poterba, James M & Shackelford, Douglas A & Shoven, John B, 2004. "Copycat Funds: Information Disclosure Regulation and the Returns to Active Management in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 515-541, October.
    10. Vikas Agarwal & Wei Jiang & Yuehua Tang & Baozhong Yang, 2013. "Uncovering Hedge Fund Skill from the Portfolio Holdings They Hide," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(2), pages 739-783, April.
    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mutual funds; Window dressing; Portfolio disclosure; Fund flows;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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