This study empirically examines the value added for investors during the 2007-2009 financial crisis from hedge fund-like equity mutual funds, including 130/30, market neutral, and long/short equity funds. We find that based on the information ratio, all market neutral funds, top 90% of long/short funds, and top 25% of 130/30 funds outperform a long-only passive index fund over the crisis period. However, we find little evidence of abnormal performance by the average and median funds in our sample, based on either unconditional or conditional four-factor alphas. The reason for the overall under-performance in the crisis period is that while short positions taken by these funds do generate alpha, the gain from their short positions is not sufficiently large to offset the loss from their long positions. Finally, the abnormal performance of short positions is found to be attributable to managers' characteristic-adjusted and industry-adjusted stock selection skills. One implication of this study is that even though market neutral and long/short funds on average may not generate alpha, investors can benefit from holding these funds, especially the former, that can provide a hedge against down markets due to their low betas and that can be useful for asset allocation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics