We investigate the effect of scale on performance in the active money management industry. We first document that fund returns, both before and after fees and expenses, decline with lagged fund size, even after adjusting these returns by various performance benchmarks. We then explore a number of potential explanations for this relationship. We find that this relationship is most pronounced among funds that have to invest in small and illiquid stocks, which suggests that the adverse effects of scale are related to liquidity. Controlling for its size, a fund's performance actually increases with the asset base of the other funds in the family that the fund belongs to. This suggests that scale need not be bad for fund returns depending on how the fund is organized. Finally, we explore the idea that scale erodes fund performance because of the interaction of liquidity and organizational diseconomies.
Chen, Joseph; Hong, Harrison G.; Huang, Ming; and Kubik, Jeffrey D., "Does Fund Size Erode Mutual Fund Performance? The Role of Liquidity and Organization" (2004). Economics - Faculty Scholarship. 105.
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