What’s in a name? For hedge fund investors, sometimes a warning sign.
Hedge funds often choose names with words that reflect authority, stability and power — i.e. words with gravitas. Now a report from researchers at the University at Buffalo and Finland’s University of Oulu finds that investors should beware.
Funds with gravitas-laden names “have lower returns, alphas, sharpe ratios and manipulation-proof performance measures, higher volatilities and maximum drawdowns as well as higher probabilities of extinction than the funds with lower name gravitas,” according to the report, which examined nearly 18,000 hedge funds globally that on average manage about $160 million. These funds also tend to charge higher management fees and lower incentive fees.
And yet investors tend to fall for those types of names nonetheless — especially with words related to economics, nations and politics. Adding one word with gravitas to a hedge fund’s name can bring in about $227,120 more, on average, each year, the report found.
“What we document is the relatively puzzling fact that investors chase gravitas in the name of the fund itself even after we control for the fund’s manager and for the fund’s performance” as well as investor due diligence, according to the report, which was co-authored by Cristian Tiu and Juha Joenvaara.