Are 'Market Neutral' Hedge Funds Really Market Neutral?

33 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2004

See all articles by Andrew J. Patton

Andrew J. Patton

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 11, 2004


One can consider the concept of market neutrality as having "breadth" and "depth": "Breadth" reflects the number of market risks to which the hedge fund is neutral, while "depth" reflects the "completeness" of the neutrality of the fund to market risks. We focus on market neutrality depth, and propose five different neutrality concepts for hedge funds. "Mean neutrality" nests the standard correlation-based defnition of neutrality. "Variance neutrality", "Value-at-Risk neutrality" and "tail neutrality" all relate to the neutrality of the risk of the hedge fund to market risks. Finally, "complete neutrality" corresponds to independence of the fund to market risks. We suggest statistical tests for each neutrality concept, and apply the tests to a combined database of monthly "market neutral" hedge fund returns from the HFR and TASS hedge fund databases. We find that between one-quarter and one-third of these funds exhibit some significant exposure to market risk.

Keywords: hedge funds, market neutrality, dependence, correlation, risk, portfolio decisions, copulas

JEL Classification: G10, G11, G19, G23

Suggested Citation

Patton, Andrew J., Are 'Market Neutral' Hedge Funds Really Market Neutral? (March 11, 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Andrew J. Patton (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States


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