Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1102715
 
 

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Payout Policies and Closed-end Fund Discounts: Signaling, Agency Costs, and the Role of Institutional Investors


Zhi Jay Wang


University of Oregon - Charles H. Lundquist School of Business

Vikram K. Nanda


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Business School at Newark & New Brunswick

February 1, 2011

AFA 2009 San Francisco Meetings Paper

Abstract:     
The adoption of a Managed Distribution Policy or Plan (MDP) by closed-end funds appears effective in dramatically reducing, even eliminating, fund discounts. We investigate two possible explanations: the signaling explanation proposed in the literature, that the MDP serves as a positive signal of future fund performance, and an alternative explanation based on agency costs. Our results indicate that signaling is, at best, only part of the explanation and that the evidence is generally more consistent with the agency cost hypothesis. For funds adopting aggressive payout targets of 10% (median target) and above, discounts tend to disappear, though there is no discernible improvement in NAV performance. Consistent with the agency cost hypothesis, it is often pressure from institutions/large shareholders that leads to the adoption of aggressive payout policies. Moreover, aggressive MDPs are associated with a decrease in fund size and managerial fees. Suggestive of their activist role in MDP adoptions and/or informed trading, institutions - especially ones that are Value oriented - tend to build up their holdings in a fund prior to the adoption of an aggressive MDP, and liquidate their positions once the price rises.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: Payout Policy, Closed-End Discount, Signaling, Agency Costs

JEL Classification: G23, G35

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Date posted: March 6, 2008 ; Last revised: August 8, 2011

Suggested Citation

Wang, Zhi Jay and Nanda, Vikram K., Payout Policies and Closed-end Fund Discounts: Signaling, Agency Costs, and the Role of Institutional Investors (February 1, 2011). AFA 2009 San Francisco Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1102715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1102715

Contact Information

Zhi Jay Wang (Contact Author)
University of Oregon - Charles H. Lundquist School of Business ( email )
1208 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1208
United States
Vikram K. Nanda
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Business School at Newark & New Brunswick ( email )
Janice H. Levin Bldg., Room 121
94 Rockafeller Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8054
United States
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