When the Panic Broke Out: Covid-19 and Investment Funds' Portfolio Rebalancing Around the World

65 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2021

Date Written: July 27, 2021

Abstract

To contribute to the understanding of investment funds' (IFs) behaviour, the paper exploits the exogenous shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and analyses more than 12 million security sales and purchases during the first four months of 2020 by over 20,000 IFs from more than 40 national jurisdictions and investing in more than 100 economies and 20 industries. Our estimates reveal that, when the emergency strikes, IFs do not sell indiscriminately but divest from assets considered the most vulnerable at the moment, that is, those issued by more COVID-affected countries and industries. Our results also show several dimensions of heterogeneity according to the pandemic outbreak phase, asset type, IF category and performance, extent of unitholders' outflows, and nationality of IFs. Our results, on the one hand, provide new evidence on the intrinsic fragility of IFs and the connection between their choices and fire sales, but, on the other, they also show that IF industry includes heterogeneous institutions that behave very differently. Finally, our results document that monetary policy measures have a reassuring effect also for IFs, which corroborates recent evidence on a non-bank financial institution channel of unconventional monetary policies.

Keywords: coronavirus, Covid-19, investment funds, Morningstar holdings, pandemic, portfolio rebalancing, resilience

JEL Classification: G01, G12, G15, G32

Suggested Citation

Affinito, Massimiliano and Santioni, Raffaele, When the Panic Broke Out: Covid-19 and Investment Funds' Portfolio Rebalancing Around the World (July 27, 2021). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 1342, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3896291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3896291

Massimiliano Affinito

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Raffaele Santioni (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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