When Funds Diverge From Their Long-Term Factor Loadings: A Comparison of Australian and US Mutual Funds

23 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2015 Last revised: 13 Apr 2016

See all articles by Zhe Chen

Zhe Chen

Acadian Asset Management; University of New South Wales (UNSW); Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR)

David R. Gallagher

Alleron Investment Management Ltd

Date Written: March 18, 2016

Abstract

Using a replicating portfolio method to capture the long-term risk loadings of Australian active institutional funds, we investigate patterns in how actual disclosed fund returns diverge from those anticipated by their factor loadings. We find that Australian funds’ returns generate positive alpha, are tilted slightly towards big stocks, and tend to be convex to their respective benchmarks. This suggests that funds deviate away from their long-term factor loadings when their loadings are performing particularly well or particularly poorly. This pattern of returns is consistent with fund managers responding to their incentives of preserving capital relative to the market during downturns while maximising performance during market growth phases. In comparison, US mutual funds load on small stocks and do not generate alpha after size and value factors are controlled for. Furthermore, they tend to be concave to their respective replicating portfolios. Our research highlights the unique nature of Australian fund managers in timing market factors to generate excess returns.

Keywords: fund managers, convexity, long-term factor exposures

JEL Classification: G23

Suggested Citation

Chen, Zhe and Gallagher, David R., When Funds Diverge From Their Long-Term Factor Loadings: A Comparison of Australian and US Mutual Funds (March 18, 2016). CIFR Paper No. 98/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2588306 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2588306

Zhe Chen (Contact Author)

Acadian Asset Management ( email )

260 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110
United States

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR) ( email )

Level 7, UNSW CBD Campus
1 O'Connell Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia

David R. Gallagher

Alleron Investment Management Ltd ( email )

Australia

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