Governance in the Mutual Fund Industry
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The first essay examines how board structure affects manager dismissal decisions in mutual funds. We first find some evidence suggesting that the likelihood of managerial replacement is higher when fund boards are more independent and receive lower levels of compensation. Manager turnover is more likely when funds underperform the objective average. We then investigate the manager turnover decision conditional on the funds experiencing a merger. We find that funds with more independent boards are more likely to employ target managers with a track record of superior performance. Overall, these results suggest that more independent boards make manager retention/replacement decisions in the interests of their shareholders. The second essay studies the relationship between managerial ownership and mutual fund performance. We first document that almost half of the mutual fund managers own shares in their funds, though the absolute amount of investment is modest. Fund future performance is positively related to the level of manager ownership. Manager ownership is higher in equity funds than bond funds, in funds with better past performance, smaller sizes, and where managers have been in charge for a longer time period. When we decompose manager ownership into predicted and residual parts, we find that both components are significant in explaining fund future performance. Our findings suggest that managerial ownership has desirable incentive attributes for mutual fund investors. The third essay investigates how managerial ownership affects the investment behavior of portfolio managers. We first examine the disposition effect exhibited by different fund managers, and find that those with positive ownership show significantly less disposition effect. Specifically, they sell losers faster and hold on to winner stocks for a longer period. Disposition effect is less pronounced in bigger funds, funds with smaller boards, and funds with higher percentage of board independence. We then test the relation between managerial ownership and the tournament behavior, investigating how the degree of managers manipulation of fund volatilities in the latter part of a year is related to their personal stakes in the funds. However, we do not find evidence suggesting the existence of such a relationship.