Essays on asset allocation and delegated portfolio management
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Asset allocation and portfolio decisions are at the heart of money management and draw great attention from both academics and practitioners. In addition, the segmentation of fund investors (i.e., the clientele effect) in the money management industry is well known but poorly understood. The objective of this dissertation is to study the implications of regime switching behaviors in asset returns on asset allocation and to analyze the clientele effect as well as the impact of portfolio management contracts on fund investment. Chapter 2 presents an innovative regime switching multi-factor model accounting for the different regime switching behaviors in the systematic and idiosyncratic components of asset returns. A Gibbs sampling approach for estimation is proposed to deal with the computational challenges that arise from a large number of assets and multiple Markov chains. In the empirical analysis, the model is applied to study sector exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The idiosyncratic volatilities of different sector ETFs exhibit a strong degree of covariation and state-dependent patterns, which are different from the dynamics of their systematic component. In a dynamic asset allocation problem, the certainty equivalent return is computed and compared across various models for an investor with constant relative risk aversion. The out-of-sample asset allocation experiments show that the new regime switching model statistically significantly outperformed the linear multi-factor model and conventional regime switching models driven by a common Markov chain. The results suggest that it is not only important to account for regimes in portfolio decisions, but correct specification about the structure and number of regimes is of equal importance. Chapter 3 proposes a rational explanation for the existence of clientele effects under commonly used portfolio management contracts. It shows that although a fund manager always benefits from his market timing skill, which comes from his private information about future market returns, the value of the manager's private information to an investor can be negative when the investor is sufficiently more risk-averse than the manager. This suggests different clienteles for skilled and unskilled funds. Investors in skilled funds are uniformly more risk-tolerant than investors in unskilled funds. Moreover, a comparative statics analysis is conducted to investigate the effects of the manager's skill level, contract parameters, and market conditions on an investor's fund choice. The results suggest that the investors who are sufficiently more risk-averse than the manager should include fulcrum fees in the contract to benefit from the skilled manager's information advantage.