A portrait of hedge fund investors: Flows, performance and smart money

We explore the flow-performance interrelation by explicitly separating the investment and divestment decisions of hedge fund investors. The results show that different determinants and evaluation horizons underlie both decisions.While money inflows are sensitive to past long-run performance, outflows exhibit an immediate and sustained response to past performance in the short run.As a consequence, the shape of the flow-performance relation differs depending on the time horizon being analyzed. We find a weaker flow-performance relation for winning funds at quarterly horizons compared to annual horizons, which may explain why quarterly persistence in hedge fund performance is not competed away. Indeed, we also find evidence that most investors are unable to exploit the persistence of the winners. Conversely, investors are fast and successful in deallocating from the persistent losers, ensuring a disciplining mechanism for lowquality funds. Further, our findings do not support the existence of smart money.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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