Business cycle and investment flows of retail and institutional mutual funds

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the dynamics of mutual fund investment flows across the business cycle. To account for the differences in the flow patterns of funds catered for institutional investors and those focusing on retail investors, the author conducts this investigation separately for flows of institutional and retail funds. Design/methodology/approach: The author uses the sample of US equity mutual funds for the period between 1999 and 2012. For the samples of each type of fund, the author performs separate analyses for expansion and recession periods. Following Sirri and Tufano (1998), the author implements the Fama MacBeth (1973) approach. Findings: The author finds that flow patterns of both fund types vary across the business cycle. For example, the results reveal that during bad times, institutional investors demonstrate weaker return-chasing behavior, while paying higher attention to Jensen’s α, than during good times. In addition, the author reports results on the effect of fund exposure to various systematic risk factors. For instance, the author observes that during economic downturns, investors of both fund types tend to punish managers with higher market exposure. During expansions, the fund’s market exposure positively affects flows of institutional funds, while its effect on the flows of retail funds remains negative. Originality/value: To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study that investigates mutual fund investment flow patterns across the business cycle, while simultaneously accounting for differences in flow patterns between retail and institutional funds. A further contribution of this paper is that it explores the previously overlooked relationships between fund flows and their exposure to various systematic risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-520
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Managerial Finance
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Business cycle
  • Institutional funds
  • Institutional investors
  • Mutual fund flows
  • Retail funds
  • Retail investors

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