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DISCUSSION PAPER PI-1009

FUND FLOWS, MANAGER CHANGE AND PERFORMANCE PERSISTENCE.

Wolfgang Bessler, David Blake, Peter Lückoff and Ian Tonks

Most empirical studies suggest that mutual funds do not persistently outperform an appropriate benchmark in the long run. We analyze this lack of persistence in terms of two equilibrating mechanisms: fund flows and manager changes. Using data on actively managed U.S. equity mutual funds, we find that if neither mechanism is operating, winner funds (top-decile ranked in previous year) continue to significantly outperform loser funds (bottom-decile ranked in previous year) by 4.08 percentage points per annum. However, the difference between previous winner and loser funds declines to zero within one year if the two mechanisms are acting together. Thus, mutual fund out- and underperformance is unlikely to persist in well-functioning markets.

JEL Classification: G28, G29, G32.

Keywords: Mutual funds, performance persistence, fund flows, manager changes.