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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Valuing Mutual Fund Companies


Combining insights from the contingent claims and the asset-backed securities literatures, we study the economics of value creation in the asset management business. In particular, we provide a theoretical model and a closed form formula for the value of fund fees in the presence of the well known flow-performance relation, giving rise to interesting nonlinearities and volatility-related effects. The theoretical model sheds light on the role of fees, asset growth, asset and benchmark volatility, and the intensity of the flow-performance relation. To better understand the role of changing fund characteristics such as age and size on the fund value and fund risk, we estimate the empirical relation between returns and flows conditional on these characteristics for various asset classes. We study these effects using Monte Carlo simulations for various economically meaningful parameter values for specific asset classes. Measuring value as a fraction of assets under management, we find that both value and risk, systematic and idiosyncratic, decline in size and age. In addition, value is a complex, non-monotonic function of the fee charged on the fund.

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