Is This Time Different? Trend Following and Financial Crises
Posted: 21 May 2019
Date Written: February 28, 2014
Following large positive returns in 2008, Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs) received increased attention and allocations from institutional investors. Subsequent performance has been below its long term average. This has occurred in a period following the largest financial crisis since the great depression. In this paper, using almost a century of data, we investigate what typically happens to the core strategy pursued by these funds in global financial crises. We also examine the time series behaviour of the markets traded by CTAs during these crisis periods. Our results show that in an extended period following financial crises trend following average returns are less than half those earned in no-crisis periods. Evidence from regional crises shows a similar pattern. We also find that futures markets do not display the strong time series return predictability prevalent in no-crisis periods, resulting in relatively weak returns for trend following strategies for, on average, four years following the start of a financial crisis.
Keywords: Trend Following, Time Series Momentum, Financial Crisis, CTA
JEL Classification: G10, G19
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