Shedding Light on the Exposure of Mutual Funds – Which Investments Drive Mutual Fund Characteristics?
32 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2019 Last revised: 20 May 2020
Date Written: March 18, 2019
This paper is the first to identify and classify virtually all investment instruments held by equity funds from their portfolio holdings. This enables us to analyze the effects of long and short exposures from different complex instruments including short sales, options and futures but also previously neglected derivatives like warrants and units on funds’ risk, performance and characteristics. These analyses are of general interest, especially in the light of ongoing discussions regarding further regulation of complex instrument use by mutual funds. Our empirical analyses document that more than 40% of funds use complex instruments. However, relative to their total assets, funds’ average exposure from such positions is very small with values below 1%. Consequentially, the effects of instruments are often weaker than suggested by previous research or even show opposite directions.
Keywords: equity mutual funds, risk, performance, derivatives, complex investments, holdings
JEL Classification: G11, G20, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation