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Authors: Brown, Stephen J.
Gallagher, David R.
Steenbeek, Onno
Swan, Peter L.
Keywords: Informationless Trading;Sharpe Ratios;Performance Evaluation
Issue Date: 8-Jan-2004
Series/Report no.: SC-AM-04-01
Abstract: The recent paper by Goetzmann et al. (2002) suggests that fund managers subject to a performance review have an adverse incentive to engage in portfolio strategies that have the unfortunate attribute that they can expose the fund investor to significant downside risk. Weisman (2002) uses the term “informationless investing” to describe this behavior, and argues that these strategies are “peculiar to the asset management industry in general, and the hedge fund industry in particular” and that these strategies “can produce the appearance of return enhancement without necessarily providing any value to an investor.” Just how prevalent are these practices in the fund management business? On the basis of a unique database of daily transactions and holdings of a set of forty successful Australian equity managers, we find evidence that individual managers do engage in this trading behavior, particularly when they form part of a team within a large decentralized money management operation and are compensated in the form of an annual bonus based on performance. This result is broadly consistent with the theoretical and empirical results of the principal agent literature which highlight the adverse consequences for the long term objectives of principals where agents are compensated based on observable short term performance. It is also consistent with recent results from the behavioral finance literature which suggest that agents narrowly focus on individual security gambles independent of overall portfolio value considerations.
Appears in Collections:Asset Management

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