Traditional and Alternative Risk: Application to Hedge Fund Returns

Claudio Boido, Antonio Fasano

Abstract

This study compares the risk-adjusted performance of traditional and alternative investments. Instrumental to this design, we introduce a specific metric for assessing hedge fund performance, comprising both the relative advantage and the extra-risk of an alternative investment over a traditional one. We are concerned with the impact of the crisis. Common wisdom tells us that during phases of market euphoria, investors’ wishful thinking can make them overconfident of the high returns promised by the leveraged structures and the aggressive investment policies typical of this asset class; conversely, when the downturns hit, the “big bets”, taken by hedge fund managers, in risky and illiquid investments, can trigger severe losses in their investors’ portfolios. We found evidence that regime switches in stock returns emphasise the performance gap among the different fund investment policies; furthermore, some styles can effectively capitalise on managerial skill, outperforming traditional equity investment in terms of adjusted performance.

Keywords

alternative investment, hedge fund, performace, risk measure

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