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Frank de Jong (Tilburg University)

3 October 2022 @ 12:00 - 13:00


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3 October 2022
12:00 - 13:00
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Academic Events

“How do Funds Deviate from Benchmarks? Evidence from MSCI’s Inclusion of Chinese A-shares”

Joint with Lennart Dekker and Jasmin Gider

Abstract An increasing amount of assets is managed by benchmark-tracking investment funds. This study investigates how benchmarking changes affect portfolio compositions in the cross-section of different investor types and stock characteristics. To that end, we exploit the phased introduction of Chinese A-shares to the MSCI Emerging Markets index, which was announced in June 2017 and implemented over the period from May 2018 to November 2019. This change presents a rare opportunity to estimate the impact of index changes and to shed light on cross-sectional implications. We document that particularly passive funds systematically deviate from the benchmark. Market capitalization, stock liquidity and stock volatility affect how benchmark changes translate to portfolio adjustments of mutual funds and ETFs. We then study how the changes in benchmark weights affect financial market outcomes, more specifically the comovement of returns. We find that these characteristics moderate the impact of benchmarking changes on financial market outcomes, suggesting that deviations from benchmarks matter.