Man vs. Machine: Quantitative and Discretionary Equity Management
61 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2020 Last revised: 15 Sep 2022
Date Written: October 23, 2020
I use machine learning to categorize US active equity mutual funds as quantitative (reliant on computer models and fixed-rules) or discretionary (reliant on human judgment). I then formulate hypotheses of how their holdings and performance might differ, based on the conjecture that quantitative funds might have more learning capacity but less flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions than discretionary funds. Consistent with those hypotheses, I find that quantitative funds hold more stocks, specialize in stock picking, and engage in more overcrowded trades. Discretionary funds hold lesser-known stocks, switch between picking and timing and outperform quantitative funds in recessions.
Keywords: Investment Management, Quantitative Mutual Funds, Machine Learning, Rational Inattention
JEL Classification: G11, G23, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation