Mutual fund performance: Shouldn’t clear winners outperform both, the benchmark and the peer-group?
33 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 3, 2021
Standard Fama-French-Carhart models define ‘winners’ as those funds that generate highest excess returns given the factor risks involved; however they do not provide information on whether such winners are outperforming their prospectus benchmark or their peer-group. In addition, existing literature relying on these models by and large does not find evidence of persistence in performance. In this paper, we argue that true (unbiased) winners should be defined differently: they are funds placed in the top-ranking group (quartile, quintile, etc.), which generate the highest factor-risk-adjusted performance relative to the benchmark and the peer-group simultaneously. We prove in this paper that using this definition and selecting true winner funds based on benchmark- and peer-group-adjusted alphas jointly lead to better performance than selecting the funds using either of these two alphas separately. Utilising both adjustments at the same time results in a strong predictive ability, leading to a selection of funds that persist in performance: our true winner funds have statistically significantly superior benchmark-adjusted alphas, peer-group adjusted alphas and Sharpe ratios one-year-ahead, which are significantly different from those generated by the true loser funds. The results are robust to extended investment horizon, and alpha estimation method, and they are not driven by outliers, size of fund-sorts, or any particular period within our sample.
Keywords: US Equity Mutual Funds, Benchmark-adjusted alphas, Peer-group-adjusted alphas, Performance ranking
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation