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Two Essays on the Behavior of Mutual Fund Managers

  • Author(s): Bae, Jongwan
  • Advisor(s): Sun, Zheng
  • et al.
Abstract

I conduct two studies that investigate the behavioral characteristics of mutual fund managers. First study, The Performance of Mutual Funds on Private Information, looks at the dimension of investment skills of fund managers. The investment skills of mutual fund managers can be assessed by their ability to generate private information. In this study, by investigating the simultaneous actions of fund managers and corporate managers, we estimate how much the actions of fund managers can be attributed to private information. Using the information of insiders' transactions as a proxy for the managers' private information, our performance measure, PS (Private Shares), captures variations in skills among fund managers, suggesting that the funds with higher PS outperform the funds with lower PS. The finding that PS is positively related to future fund performance is consistent with our conjecture that fund managers who actively trade on private information have better managerial skills than the ones that do not trade on private information.

In the second study, Impact of Religious Belief on Asset Management Industry, we investigate the effects of religion on the investing behavior of fund managers. We propose a measure of corporate social responsibility propensity (CSRP) by fund managers that captures the level of a manager's tendency to invest in firms that engage in socially responsible activities. Grounded in the basis of ethics and morality, religious belief is shown to have a positive impact on a fund manager's investment in firms with good corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. The positive association between religiosity and CSRP is particularly strong in the sample of non-institutional funds. On the performance aspect, we find that funds in the highly religious region with a higher propensity to invest in socially responsible firms tend to exhibit future performance deterioration. Our results suggest that local religiosity has a significant impact on the investing behavior of fund managers.

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