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Written by: Jongwan Bae, Timothy Haight, Chengdong Yin


We examine the performance of mutual funds under side-by-side (SBS) management with hedge funds from a new perspective. Using SEC filings to identify advisory firms engaged in SBS management, we find that mutual fund performance is affected by an advisory firm’s path to SBS management (i.e., whether they started with mutual funds or hedge funds). While no significant path effects are observed when SBS advisers started with mutual funds, we observe significant outperformance when SBS advisers started with hedge funds. However, the performance benefit provided by SBS advisers that started with hedge funds becomes insignificant when SBS management is conducted at the portfolio manager level. Further analysis suggests that these effects relate to the relative contributions of mutual funds and hedge funds to advisers’ total assets and compensation. SBS advisers that started with mutual funds rely heavily on mutual funds for both assets and compensation, which could explain why mutual fund performance does not suffer when these advisers expand into hedge funds. Meanwhile, SBS advisers that started with hedge funds derive more of their assets from mutual funds, though hedge funds generally contribute more to their total compensation. These patterns suggest there are adviser-level incentives to deliver strong mutual fund performance (which attracts capital from new investors) and manager-level incentives to favor hedge funds (which increases compensation).

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