The purpose of this paper is to examine the ability of hedge funds and funds of hedge funds to generate absolute returns using fund level data.
The absolute return profiles are identified using properties of the empirical distributions of fund returns. The authors use both Bayesian multinomial probit and frequentist multinomial logit regressions to examine the relationship between the return profiles and fund characteristics.
Some evidence is found that only some hedge funds strategies, but not all of them, demonstrate higher tendency to produce absolute returns. Also identified are some investment provisions and fund characteristics that can influence the chance of generating absolute returns. Finally, no evidence was found for performance persistence in terms of absolute returns for hedge funds but some limited evidence for funds of funds.
This paper is the first attempt to examine the hedge fund return profiles based on the notion of absolute return in great details. Investors and managers of funds of funds can utilize the identification method in this paper to evaluate the performance of their interested hedge funds from a new angle.
Using the properties of the empirical distribution of the hedge fund returns to classify them into different absolute return profiles is the unique contribution of this paper. The application of the multinomial probit and multinomial logit models in the fund performance and fund characteristics literature is also new since the dependent variable in the authors' regressions is multinomial.