Is Your Fund Watching Out for You?

47 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2013 Last revised: 3 Mar 2015

See all articles by Javier Vidal-García

Javier Vidal-García

Harvard University; Complutense University Madrid

Marta Vidal

Universidad Europea de Madrid; Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

Date Written: June 2014


We examine the relation between the performance of mutual funds and their effectiveness in disciplining underperforming funds and safeguard shareholder interest. Mutual fund boards have a clear mandate under federal securities law to monitor potential conflicts of interest, approve fund documents, protect the interests of fund shareholders and ensure that advisors provide satisfactory returns with reasonable fees. Investor advocates argue that mutual funds allow too many directors to seat on too many boards. Directors, who usually attend between four and eight board meetings a year, are paid an average salary of $250,000 annually at the largest mutual fund companies. Critics state that millions of shareholders have already suffered the cost of poor governance, in the form of poor performance. In 2011, only 23% of actively managed equity funds beat their benchmarks. Over the past five years, 61% of equity funds have lagged the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Our results show evidence that most mutual funds take some kind of action to revert underperformance, but the majority of them are not able to beat their benchmarks three years afterwards.

Keywords: Mutual funds, Control mechanisms, Fund governance, Management turnover

JEL Classification: G10, G11, G23

Suggested Citation

Vidal-García, Javier and Vidal, Marta, Is Your Fund Watching Out for You? (June 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Javier Vidal-García (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Complutense University Madrid ( email )

School of Business Administration
Somosaguas Campus
Madrid, Madrid 28223

Marta Vidal

Universidad Europea de Madrid ( email )

Villaviciosa de Odón
Madrid, 28670

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Somosaguas Campus
Madrid, 28223

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