Cautious Risk Takers: Investor Preferences and Demand for Active Management

Cautious Risk Takers: Investor Preferences and Demand for Active Management

  • VALERY POLKOVNICHENKO
  • KELSEY D. WEI
  • FENG ZHAO

Article first published online: 13th December 2018 DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12747

Abstract


Despite their mediocre mean performance, actively managed mutual funds are distinct from passive funds in their return distributions. Active value funds better hedge downside risk, while active growth funds better capture upside potential. Since such performance features may appeal to investors with tail‐overweighting preferences, we show that preferences for downside protection and upside potential estimated from the empirical pricing kernel can help explain active fund flows in the value and growth categories, respectively. This effect of investor risk preferences varies significantly with funds' downside‐hedging and upside‐capturing ability, with levels of active management, and across retirement and retail funds.

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