Randolph B. Cohen
Harvard Business School - Finance Unit
London School of Economics
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
March 15, 2010
We examine the performance of stocks that represent managers' "Best Ideas." We find that the stock that active managers display the most conviction towards ex-ante, outperforms the market, as well as the other stocks in those managers' portfolios, by approximately 1.6 to 2.1 percent per quarter depending on the benchmark employed. The results for managers' other high-conviction investments (e.g. top five stocks) are also strong. The other stocks managers hold do not exhibit significant outperformance. This leads us to two conclusions. First, the U.S. stock market does not appear to be efficiently priced by our risk models, since even the typical active mutual fund manager is able to identify stocks that outperform by economically and statistically large amounts. Second, consistent with the view of Berk and Green (2004), the organization of the money management industry appears to make it optimal for managers to introduce stocks into their portfolio that are not outperformers. We argue that investors would benefit if managers held more concentrated portfolios.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: mutual funds, managerial skill, market efficiency
JEL Classification: G11, G23
Date posted: March 23, 2009 ; Last revised: April 2, 2010