UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor and Institute for Private Capital Executive Director Shawn Munday sits down virtually with Kenan Institute Executive Director Greg Brown to explain all the buzz around Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation, commonly known as SPACs.
We propose and test a framework of private information acquisition and decision timing for asset allocators hiring outside investment managers. Using unique data on due diligence interactions between an institutional allocator and 860 hedge fund managers, we find that the production of private information complements public information. The allocator strategically chooses how much proprietary information to collect, reducing due diligence time by 18 months and improving outcomes. Selected funds outperform unselected funds by 9% over 20 months. The outperformance relates to the allocator learning about fund return-to-scale constraints and manager skill before other investors.
Using a large database of U.S. equity position-level holdings for hedge funds, we measure the degree of securitylevel crowdedness. The crowdedness factor is related to downside “tail risk" as stocks with higher exposure to crowdedness experience relatively larger drawdowns during periods of market distress. This tail risk extends to hedge fund portfolio returns as the crowdedness factor explains why some funds experience relatively large drawdowns.
We study the role of hedge fund activists in curbing empire building. We show that firms with poor acquisition records are more likely to become activist targets. Following activist intervention, targeted firms make fewer acquisitions but obtain substantially higher abnormal returns. These firms avoid large transactions, diversifying deals, and refrain from announcing deals during merger waves.
We examine the link between endowment investment performance and the expertise of university board members. Harnessing detailed information on 11,019 members for 579 universities, we find that expertise in alternatives and larger professional networks are associated with higher allocations to alternatives and better investment results.
Using a dataset of 3,234 letters sent by 434 hedge funds to their investors during 1995–2011, we study what motivates hedge fund managers to make voluntary disclosures. Contrary to the hedge fund industry's reputation for opacity, we observe that managers provide their investors with an array of quantitative and qualitative information about fund returns, risk exposures, holdings, benchmarks, performance attribution, and future prospects.
Substantial academic research explains why firms should hedge, but little work has addressed how firms should hedge. We assume that firms can experience costly states of nature and derive optimal hedging strategies using vanilla derivatives (e.g., forwards and options) and custom “exotic” derivative contracts for a value-maximizing firm facing both hedgable (price) and unhedgable (quantity) risks. Customized exotic derivatives are typically better than vanilla contracts when correlations between prices and quantities are large in magnitude and when quantity risks are substantially greater than price risks. Finally, we discuss how our model may be applied in practice.
The authors find that hedge funds during the 2008 financial crisis did not systematically benefit from opportunistic trading, which could have generated systemic risks in financial markets. Although some funds that used leverage actually performed worse than expected given ex ante risk-factor loadings, this result was most likely caused by meeting redemptions rather than by forced selling during the crisis.
We identify a setting in which there is a predictable incentive for short sellers to manipulate prices, and we find patterns consistent with short sellers manipulating prices. Specifically, we find that stocks with high shortinterest experience abnormally low returns on the last trading day of the year. This effect is strongest among stocks that are easily manipulated and during the last hour of trading. Further, this effect reverses at the beginning of the year, consistent with the temporary nature of price manipulation.