The doctoral dissertation of M.Sc. Hamed Salehi (finance) will be publicly examined at the Oulu Business School on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 12:00 (noon). Title of the dissertation is The use of ETFs and protective option strategies by delegated asset managers.
The public defence will be held in the University of Oulu, Linnanmaa campus in lecture room TA105 (Arina-hall).
Opponent: Professor Anders Löflund, Hanken School of Economics
Custos: Professor Jukka Perttunen, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu
The use of ETFs and protective option strategies by delegated asset managers
The secretive nature, opacity, and complexity of investment strategies employed by active asset managers lead to information asymmetry and to the agency problem. Under imperfect information, ex ante identiﬁcation of skilled investment managers is difﬁcult. Moreover, personal preferences may lead to investment decisions that play to the advantage of asset managers – who control the actions determining the distribution of investment outcomes – at the expense of asset owners’ objectives. Analysing investment actions that are prone to agency problems may aid in effectively gauging managerial skill and risk preferences.
This dissertation, comprising three essays, offers empirical evaluation of the use of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and protective option strategies by utilising a novel data on institutional investors’ security holdings and one of the most comprehensive consolidated hedge fund data. The analysis of institutional investors’ ETF portfolios does not support the hypothesised ETF selection ability. Rather, ETF usage is associated with managerial incentives and investment constraints. Both a robust negative relation between ETF use and stock portfolio performance and the less active investing manifested by portfolios of ETF users suggest inferior stock selection among this subset of institutional investors.
The results also establish a strong association between the use of protective option strategies and a lower risk proﬁle. In line with a costly hedging hypothesis, funds whose portfolios include protective option strategies earned countercyclical net-of-fee returns. More incentivised hedge funds with better past performance demonstrated greater likelihood of locking in their gains and insuring against the downside via protective option strategies, thereby increasing the realised fees.
Such research into use of ETFs and protective option strategies is important in two respects. It sheds light on the added value of these instruments in asset managers’ investment portfolios and provides insights into the implications of investment decisions that are susceptible to agency problems with regard to managerial skill and risk preferences. Alongside policy implications, the results have potential to improve screening and hence reduce investors’ search costs.
Last updated: 8.1.2020