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Written By: Andrew J. Sinclair, Chuyi Zhang




We use a novel fund-level measure to identify 877 retail hedge funds. On average, retail funds do not underperform, either on an absolute basis or relative to institutional funds. In the cross-section, 14.3% of retail funds produce positive alpha and performance is predictable: funds with low systematic risk outperform, and poor performing funds persistently underperform. Turning to investor behavior, retail investors are “hot money” and are more likely to divest following poor performance. They do not exhibit selection ability but are not “dumb money,” and they also chase alpha and ignore (or avoid) common factor returns.

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