Investing in Mutual Funds When Returns are Predictable
58 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2004
Date Written: March 15, 2005
This paper analyzes the performance of portfolio strategies that invest in no-load, open-end U.S. domestic equity mutual funds, incorporating predictability in (i) manager skills, (ii) fund risk-loadings, and (iii) benchmark returns. Predictability in manager skills is found to be the dominant source of investment profitability -- long-only strategies that incorporate such predictability considerably outperform prior-documented "hot-hands" and "smart-money" strategies, and generate positive and significant performance with respect to the Fama-French and momentum benchmarks. Specifically, these strategies outperform their benchmarks by 2-4% per year through their ability to time industries over the business cycle. Moreover, they choose individual funds that outperform their industry benchmarks to achieve an additional 3-6% per year. Overall, our findings indicate that industries are important in locating outperforming mutual funds, and that active management adds much more value than documented by prior studies.
Keywords: Equity mutual fund, asset allocation, manager skills, business cycle
JEL Classification: G11, G12, C11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation