Bridge over ocean
8 October 2020 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 76, Issue 4

Factor Exposure Variation and Mutual Fund Performance

  1. Manuel Ammann
  2. Sebastian Fischer
  3. Florian Weigert

Mutual fund managers who frequently change exposure to investment factors (market, size, book-to-market, and momentum) perform significantly worse than those who make fewer changes.

We investigated the relationship between a mutual fund’s variation in factor exposures and its future performance. Using a dynamic state-space version of the Carhart (1997) four-factor model to capture factor variations, we found that funds with volatile factor exposures underperform funds with stable factor exposures by 147 bps a year. This underperformance is explained neither by volatile factor loadings of a fund’s equity holdings nor by a fund’s forced trading through investor flows. We conclude that fund managers voluntarily attempt to time factors but are unsuccessful at doing so.
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