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Alphas in disguise: A new approach to uncovering them

Alphas in disguise: A new approach to uncovering them

Chinthalapati, Venkata, Mateus, Cesario and Todorovic, Natasa (2017) Alphas in disguise: A new approach to uncovering them. International Journal of Finance and Economics, 22 (3). pp. 234-243. ISSN 1076-9307 (Print), 1099-1158 (Online) (doi:

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Fama-French (Carhart) alphas of passive indices should be zero, but recent evidence shows otherwise. Inaccuracies of factors in the performance measurement models have been put forward as the main reason for this. Some computationally intensive solutions to factor adjustment have been proposed, but are not applicable to all benchmark indices. We propose an optimisation algorithm that makes minor adjustments to the market, size, value and momentum factors to obtain zero alphas for any benchmark index. In the sample of 1281 active and 102 passive US equity mutual funds benchmarking against S&P500, our adjustment leads to augmentation of fund performance upwards in periods of index underperformance and downwards in periods of index outperformance. Overall, the adjusted alphas of both groups of funds are significantly negative, signalling poor performance. This is particularly pronounced for tracker funds, whose managers have not been successful in enhancing returns adequately to make-up for the costs involved in any of the sub-periods examined.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Performance evaluation, non-zero benchmark alphas, optimisation algorithm, Fama-French (Carhart) factor adjustment
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Accounting & Finance
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2019 01:38

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