Risk Shifting and Mutual Fund Performance
56 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008 Last revised: 26 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 22, 2010
Mutual funds change their risk levels significantly over time. Risk shifting might be caused by ill-motivated trades of unskilled or agency-prone fund managers who trade to increase their personal compensation. Alternatively, risk shifting might occur when skilled fund managers trade to take advantage of their stock selection and timing abilities. This paper investigates the performance consequences of risk shifting and sheds light on the mechanisms and the economic motivations behind the risk shifting behavior. Using a holdings-based measure of risk shifting, we find that funds that increase risk perform worse than funds that keep stable risk levels over time, suggesting that risk shifting is either an indication of inferior ability or is motivated by agency issues.
Keywords: Risk Shifting, Mutual Fund Performance, Agency Issues, Style Drift
JEL Classification: G10, G11, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation