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Investors in actively managed US equity mutual funds should decrease/increase their investment as fund volatility decreases/increases. This strategy significantly improves investment performance compared with a buy-and-hold approach.


Overview

Increasing (decreasing) investment in an actively managed mutual fund when fund volatility has recently been low (high) leads to a significant improvement in investment performance. Specifically, volatility-scaled fund returns exhibit significantly higher alphas and Sharpe ratios than the original (unscaled) fund returns. Scaling by past downside volatility leads to even greater performance improvement than scaling by total volatility. The superior performance of volatility-managed mutual fund trading strategies is attributable to both volatility timing and return timing. Fund flows are negatively related to past fund volatility, suggesting that fund investors are aware of the benefit of volatility management.

About the Authors

Feifei Wang CFA

Feifei Wang, CFA, is an assistant professor of finance at Farmer School of Business, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Xuemin (Sterling) Yan

Xuemin (Sterling) Yan is a Perella Chair and professor of finance at the College of Business, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Lingling Zheng

Lingling Zheng is an associate professor of finance at the School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing.