Short Selling Risk and Hedge Fund Performance
52 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2019
Date Written: October 31, 2019
Hedge funds, on average, outperform other actively managed funds. However, hedge fund managers often use trading strategies that are not used by other managed portfolios, and thus they bear unique risks. In particular, many hedge funds use short selling. I construct an option-based measure of short selling risk as the return spread between the decile of stocks with low option-implied short selling fees and the decile of those with high fees. I find that hedge funds that are significantly exposed to short selling risk outperform low-exposure funds by 0.45% per month on a risk-adjusted basis. However, there is no such relation for mutual funds that invest primarily on the long side. The results highlight that a significant proportion of abnormal performance of hedge funds is compensation for the risk they take on their short positions.
Keywords: hedge funds, mutual funds, short selling risk, short risk exposure
JEL Classification: G23; G11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation