A Cross-Sectional Machine Learning Approach for Hedge Fund Return Prediction and Selection
76 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2018 Last revised: 12 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 11, 2019
We apply four machine learning methods to cross-sectional return prediction for hedge fund selection. We equip the forecast model with a set of idiosyncratic features, which are derived from historical returns of a hedge fund and capture a variety of fund-specific information. Evaluating the out-of-sample performance, we find that our forecast method significantly outperforms the four styled HFR Indices in almost all situations. Among the four machine learning methods, we find that deep neural network appears to be overall most effective. Investigating the source of methodological advantage of our method using a case study, we find that cross-sectional forecast outperforms forecast based on time series regression in most cases. Advanced modeling capabilities of machine learning further enhance these advantages. We find that the return-based features lead to higher returns than the benchmark of a set of macro-derivative features, and our forecast method yields best performance when the two sets of features are combined.
Keywords: Hedge Fund, Return Prediction, Cross-Sectional, Machine Learning
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