I study the performance of hedge fund managers, using quarterly stock holdings from 1995 to 2010. I use the holdings-based measure built on Ferson and Mo (2012) to decompose a manager's overall performance into stock selection and three components of timing ability: market return, volatility, and liquidity. At the aggregate level, I find that hedge fund managers have stock picking skills but no timing skills, and overall I do not find strong evidence to support their superiority. I show that the lack of abilities is driven by the large fluctuations of timing performance with market conditions. I find that conditioning information, equity capital constraints, and priority in stocks to liquidate can partly explain the weak evidence. At the individual fund level, bootstrap analysis results suggest that even top managers' abilities cannot be separated from luck. Also, I find that hedge fund managers exhibit short-horizon persistence in selectivity skill.
- Do hedge fund managers possess timing and selectivity skill?: evidence from stock holdings