Structural breaks in hedge fund performance and foreign exchange liquidity
2017-10-23T15:25:42Z (GMT) by
Hedge fund managers are characterised as either market timers or asset pickers . Their superior performance can be attributed to either timing skill, selection ability or a combination of both. In the existing literature, average hedge fund performance across the entire time span under investigation is usually investigated and measured, and hence, potentially certain subtle but important features exhibited in different time periods can be averaged out in the analysis. This thesis investigates the structural breaks in the selection ability and timing skill of hedge fund managers. This research issue is of particular importance when the hedge fund performance before, during and after the recent financial crisis is compared and contrasted. This thesis conducts a structural break analysis of hedge fund managers performance in relation to market-wide liquidity and liquidity commonality in the foreign exchange (FX) market. Liquidity commonality captures the co-movement of individual asset liquidities. The measure adopted in the existing literature has several limitations. This thesis proposes a new measure, termed the Beta Index, which is derived from the time-varying exposure of individual liquidities to market liquidity movements. It is shown that the developed Beta Index is more able to identify the level of liquidity commonality in the FX market. It is also more flexible in measuring commonality with different data sampling frequency. The obtained empirical results have some practical implications. They show that the selection skill and timing ability of hedge fund managers are subject to regime switches. Under severe market conditions, most hedge fund managers possess the skill to time FX market-wide liquidity and are able to reduce losses from the FX market by reducing their funds FX exposure prior to the FX market-wide liquidity deteriorations. In the meantime, most hedge fund managers are able to deliver excess returns from time to time due to their selection ability. However, when sudden shocks of crisis occur, they fail to forecast the unexpected behaviour in the price of individual assets underlying the funds and display unsuccessful selection ability. In addition, the results suggest that many hedge funds are exposed to the FX liquidity commonality risk which impairs hedging strategies and diversification performance.