How are Derivatives Used? Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry
Posted: 6 May 1998
Date Written: January 1996
Approximately 20% of the 675 equity mutual funds analyzed in this paper invest in derivatives. We compare the return distributions of equity mutual funds that invest in derivatives to those that do not. We also analyze the use of derivatives to affect intertemporal changes in fund risk. Equity mutual funds that invest in derivatives have similar risk and similar net return performance to those that do not. Change in fund risk is negatively related to past performance, but derivatives allow funds to dampen these changes. We interpret these results as consistent with the hypothesis that managers are slow to respond to unexpected cash flows, and inconsistent with gaming of incentive compensation systems.
JEL Classification: G13, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation