DP10152 Asset Management Contracts and Equilibrium Prices

Author(s): Andrea Buffa, Dimitri Vayanos, Paul Woolley
Publication Date: September 2014
Keyword(s): asset pricing, delegated portfolio management, market anomalies, optimal contracts
JEL(s): D86, G12, G14, G18, G23
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10152

We study the joint determination of fund managers' contracts and equilibrium asset prices. Because of agency frictions, investors make managers' fees more sensitive to performance and benchmark performance against a market index. This makes managers unwilling to deviate from the index and exacerbates price distortions. Because trading against overvaluation exposes managers to greater risk of deviating from the index than trading against undervaluation, agency frictions bias the aggregate market upwards. They can also generate a negative relationship between risk and return because they raise the volatility of overvalued assets. Socially optimal contracts provide steeper performance incentives and cause larger pricing distortions than privately optimal contracts.