Contemporary Issues in Bank Financial Management: Volume 97

Cover of Contemporary Issues in Bank Financial Management
Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)
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Purpose

In the build-up of an investment decision, the existence of both active and passive investment vehicles triggers a puzzle for investors. Indeed the confrontation between active and index replication equity funds in terms of risk-adjusted performance and alpha generation has been a bone of contention since the inception of these investment structures. Accordingly, the objective of this chapter is to distinctly underscore whether an investor should be concerned in choosing between active and diverse passive investment structures.

Methodology/approach

The survivorship bias-free dataset consists of 776 equity funds which are domiciled either in America or Europe, and are likewise exposed to the equity markets of the same regions. In addition to geographical segmentation, equity funds are also categorised by structure and management type, specifically actively managed mutual funds, index mutual funds and passive exchange traded funds (‘ETFs’). This classification leads to the analysis of monthly net asset values (‘NAV’) of 12 distinct equally weighted portfolios, with a time horizon ranging from January 2004 to December 2014. Accordingly, the risk-adjusted performance of the equally weighted equity funds’ portfolios is examined by the application of mainstream single-factor and multi-factor asset pricing models namely Capital Asset Pricing Model (Fama, 1968; Fama & Macbeth, 1973; Lintner, 1965; Mossin, 1966; Sharpe, 1964; Treynor, 1961), Fama French Three-Factor (1993) and Carhart Four-Factor (1997).

Findings

Solely examination of monthly NAVs for a 10-year horizon suggests that active management is equivalent to index replication in terms of risk-adjusted returns. This prompts investors to be neutral gross of fees, yet when considering all transaction costs it is a distinct story. The relatively heftier fees charged by active management, predominantly initial fees, appear to revoke any outperformance in excess of the market portfolio, ensuing in a Fool’s Errand Hypothesis. Moreover, both active and index mutual funds’ performance may indeed be lower if financial advisors or distributors of equity funds charge additional fees over and above the fund houses’ expense ratios, putting the latter investment vehicles at a significant handicap vis-à-vis passive low-cost ETFs. This chapter urges investors to concentrate on expense ratios and other transaction costs rather than solely past returns, by accessing the cheapest available vehicle for each investment objective. Put simply, the general investor should retreat from portfolio management and instead access the market portfolio using low-cost index replication structures via an execution-only approach.

Originality/value

The battle among actively managed and index replication equity funds in terms of risk-adjusted performance and alpha generation has been a grey area since the inception of mutual funds. The interest in the subject constantly lightens up as fresh instruments infiltrate financial markets. Indeed the mutual fund puzzle (Gruber, 1996) together with the enhanced growth of ETFs has again rejuvenated the active versus passive debate, making it worth a detailed analysis especially for the benefit of investors who confront a dilemma in choosing between the two management styles.

Purpose

This chapter aims to find an optimal way to hedge foreign exchange exposures on three main currency pairs being the EURUSD, EURGBP and EURJPY. Furthermore, it analyses the risk level of each portfolio together with its kurtosis level. This chapter also looks into the relationship between the EURUSD portfolios and the VIX level.

Methodology/approach

This study is based on a back-testing analysis over a period of seven years starting in January 2007 and ending in December 2014. Two main Foreign Exchange Premium-Free strategies were structured using the Bloomberg Terminal. These were the ‘At-Expiry Forward Extra’ and the ‘Window Forward Extra’. Portfolios were created using FX options strategies, FX spot and FX forwards. The EURUSD portfolios were also analysed and compared with the VIX level in order to see whether volatility has a direct effect on the outcome of the strategies. The statistical significance of the difference between returns of portfolios was analysed using a paired sample t-test. Finally, the histogram and distribution curve of each portfolio were created and plotted in order to provide a more visual analysis of returns.

Findings

It was found that the optimal strategies in all cases were the FX option strategies. The portfolios’ risk was analysed and indicated that optimal portfolios do not necessarily derive the lowest risk. It was also found that with a high VIX level, the forward contract was the most beneficial whilst the option strategy benefited from a low VIX level. When testing for statistical significance between returns of different portfolios, in most cases, the difference in returns between portfolios resulted to be statistically insignificant. Although some similarities were noticed in distribution curves, these differed from the normal distribution. When analysing the kurtosis levels, it is found that such levels differed from that of a normal distribution which has a kurtosis level of 3. Interpretation of such histograms, distribution curves and the kurtosis analysis was explained.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to establish whether director trades provide information to investors about the future prospects of the company they form part of and thus reduce the information asymmetry beyond what is already conveyed in the financial statements.

Methodology/approach

Director Dealings were dealt with as an investment strategy by looking at past transactions of directors executed between January 2005 and December 2014 on the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) and evaluating whether there was an increase in returns for investors who copy director trades. The study focused on whether short-term abnormal returns for up to 12 months after the transaction date, being either a buy or a sale, were made by directors in Malta when trading in their own companies.

Findings

The results show that in the short-term period of up to 12 months after the transaction date, Maltese directors do transmit information to the market both when they purchase shares in their own companies and also when they sell shares. The interesting fact about the study is that in Malta sale transactions are more valuable to the outsiders than purchase transactions. Apart from this, the results also show that some companies which are listed on the MSE are more indicative as to their future performance than others. It was ultimately concluded that even though there are informational asymmetries between directors in a company and outsiders, an outsider cannot trade solely by following director trades. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Originality/value

This study attempts to determine the level of significance that each insider trade has on the Maltese market, what each director trade conveys to the said market and if these trades are valuable to the outside investors even though such investors do not have knowledge of the grounds upon which the directors trade.

Purpose

The uncertainty as to whether investments in riskier and less efficient markets allow managers to ‘beat the market’ remains a question to which answers are required. Accordingly, the purpose of this chapter is to offer new insights on portfolios of the US, European and Emerging Market (‘EM’) domiciled equity mutual funds whose objectives are the investment in emerging economies, and specifically analyses two main issues: alpha generation and the influence of the funds’ characteristics on their risk-adjusted performance.

Methodology/approach

The dataset is made up a survivorship-bias controlled sample of 137 equity funds over the period January 2004 to December 2014, which are then grouped into equally weighted portfolios according to the scheme’s origin. The Jensen’s (1968) Single-Factor model along with the Fama and French’s (1993) and Carhart’s (1997) multifactor models are employed to authenticate results and answer both research questions.

Findings

Research analysis reveals that EM exposed fund managers fail to collectively outperform the market. It thereby offers ground to believe that the emerging world is very close to being efficient, proving that the Efficient Market Hypothesis (‘EMH’) ideal exists in this scenario where market inefficiency might only be a perception of market participants as any apparent opportunity to achieve above-average returns is speedily snapped up by very active managers. Overall these managers take a conservative approach to portfolio construction, whereby they are more unperturbed investing in large cap equity funds so as to lessen somewhat the exposure towards risks associated with liquidity, stability and volatility.

Furthermore, the findings show that large-sized equity portfolios have the lead over the medium and small-sized competitors, whilst the high cost and mature collective investment vehicles enjoy an alpha which although is negative is superior to their peers. The riskiest funds generated the lowest alpha, and thereby produced doubts as to whether investors should accept a higher risk for the hope of earning higher returns, at least when aiming to gain an exposure into the emerging world.

Originality/value

Mutual fund performance is not an innovative topic so to speak. Nonetheless, researchers and academia have centred their efforts on appraising the behaviour of fund managers domiciled primarily in developed and more efficient economics, leaving the emerging region highly uncovered in this respect. This study, therefore aims at crafting meaningful contributions to the literature as well as to the practical perspective.

Abstract

This chapter is based on the Annual Report on Public Accounts prepared by the Maltese National Audit Office (NAO), Malta’s Supreme Audit Institution. Its objectives are to analyse and classify the reported issues, evaluate their significance and how the findings are reflected in the Public Sector, and assess the adequacy of the communication of these findings through the Annual Report. The research consisted of a qualitative analysis of the Annual Reports for the three years 2007, 2009 and 2011. This analysis was supplemented by unstructured interviews conducted with both NAO and Government officials. Findings report a significant number of issues emerging from different factors. The highest incidence of weaknesses was related to record-keeping and compliance with policies and procedures. Moreover, the interviews with NAO officials showed that the departments were not always taking on board the recommendations made through the Annual Reports, thus indicating a passive attitude towards the reported findings. The results also show that while the Government has its own structures of checks-and-balances to prevent and detect errors, and no internal control system is completely effective, there is still much room for improvement within the Public Sector to ensure that public funds are appropriately utilised. The detection of various issues by the NAO is therefore inevitable, particularly given the complexity and size of the Public Sector. In conclusion, the NAO findings should be more thoroughly examined to reduce the incidence of issues. Furthermore, the way forward should be directed at enhancing the current systems and promoting a more positive relationship between the NAO and auditees.

Introduction

The recent development of the European debt sovereign crisis showed that sovereign debt is not “risk free.” The traditional index bond management used during the last two decades such as the market-capitalization weighting scheme has been severely called into question. In order to overcome these drawbacks, alternative weighting schemes have recently prompted attention, both from academic researchers and from market practitioners. One of the key developments was the introduction of passive funds using economic fundamental indicators.

Purpose

In this chapter, the authors introduced models with economic drivers with an aim of investigating whether the fundamental approaches outperformed the other models on risk-adjusted returns and on other terms.

Methodology

The authors did this by constructing five portfolios composed of the Eurozone sovereigns bonds. The models are the Market-Capitalization RP, GDP model RP, Ratings RP model, Fundamental-Ranking RP, and Fundamental-Weighted RP models. These models were created exclusively for this chapter. Both Fundamental models are using a range of 10 country fundamentals. A variation from other studies is that this dissertation applied the risk parity concept which is an allocation technique that aims to equalize risk across different assets. This concept has been applied by assuming the credit default swap as proxy for sovereign credit risk. The models were run using the Generalized Reduced Gradient (GRG) method as the optimization model, together with the Lagrange Multipliers as techniques and the Karush–Kuhn–Tucker conditions. This led to the comparison of all the models mentioned above in terms of performance, risk-adjusted returns, concentration, and weighted average ratings.

Findings

By analyzing the whole period between 2006 and 2014, it was found that both the fundamental models gave very appealing results in terms of risk-adjusted returns. The best results were returned by the Fundamental-Ranking RP model followed by the Fundamental-Weighting RP model. However, better results for the mixed performance and risk-adjusted returns were achieved on a yearly basis and when sub-dividing the whole period in three equal periods. Moreover, the authors concluded that over the long term, the fundamental bond indexing triumphed over the other approaches by offering superior return and risk characteristics. Thus, one can use the fundamental indexation as an alternative to other traditional models.

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to determine the future trends in the retail payment market in Malta, and the manner in which the major stakeholders are set to respond to the potential that innovative technology within this area is unlocking. Stakeholders strive to keep abreast with developments within this ambit, in pursuit of implementing a proactive approach within their respective roles.

Methodology/approach

The objective of this study is achieved through a series of semi-structured interviews with the major stakeholders in the local retail payment market, mainly Financial Services Regulators, Supervisors and overseers as well as the Maltese Financial Services licence holders.

Findings

The evolution in the retail payment landscape witnessed in recent years exposes immeasurable challenges to Malta’s financial services sector and the economy at large. The conclusions derived from this research dovetail with the thorough literature review conducted, in exploring the manner in which such trends are envisaged to unfold within this sector. This study explores the legislative framework and regulatory regime, both current and proposed, which lay the foundations for the interplay between the respective stakeholders.

Originality/value

This study reveals the approach taken by the various stakeholders, as they each respond to such developments in the retail payment sphere. These are predominately driven by market forces endowed with a mix of opportunities, as each stakeholder strives to remain resilient towards future industry challenges. This research is conducive towards enhancing the much needed clarity and awareness in the local retail payment market, and promotes the use of innovative, secure and cost-efficient retail payment methods.

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About the Authors

Pages 229-231
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Cover of Contemporary Issues in Bank Financial Management
DOI
10.1108/S1569-3759201697
Publication date
2016-02-26
Book series
Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78635-000-8
eISBN
978-1-78560-999-2
Book series ISSN
1569-3759