Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to study the sensitivity of provident fund investors to past performance and how market conditions, changes in risk and liquidity levels influence the net flows into provident funds by using a unique sample from Israel. Design/methodology/approach: The study checks the impact of different levels of fund performance on provident fund flows using three alternative proxies for performance: raw return and the risk adjusted returns based on the Sharpe ratio and the Jensen’s α. The analysis relies on the time fixed effect and fund fixed effect regression models. Findings: Results reveal that there exists an approximately concave flow–performance relationship and performance persistence among Israeli provident funds. Israeli provident fund investors are risk averse so they overreact to bad performance both in bull and bear markets. Moreover, liquidity is an important factor to influence the flow–performance curve. The investors’ strong negative response to poor performance and relative insensitivity to outperformance show that provident fund managers are not rewarded for their risk-shifting activities as in mutual funds. Originality/value: The authors explore the behavior of investor flows in non-institutional retirement savings funds specifically outside of the USA, which is a topic not properly investigated in literature. Moreover, examining inflows and outflows separately gives the authors a richer understanding of investors in pension schemes. This study also enhances the understanding of the impact of fund liquidity on the flow–performance relationship for the retirement funds segment.
- Bull market
- Provident funds
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)