UBC Theses and Dissertations
Essays on cash holdings of corporations and mutual funds Simutin, Mikhail Vasilevich
In this thesis, I study the relationship between excess cash holdings of corporations and mutual funds and future performance of these entities. In the first chapter, I document a positive relationship between corporate excess cash holdings and future stock returns. The difference in returns of portfolios of high and low excess cash firms amounts to 5% annually or 6% after standard three-factor risk adjustment. Firms with more excess cash have higher market betas and earn lower returns during market downturns. High excess cash companies invest considerably more in the future than do their low cash peers, but do not experience stronger future profitability. On the whole, this evidence is consistent with the notion that excess cash holdings proxy for risky growth options. In the second chapter, I document a positive relationship between excess cash holdings of actively managed equity mutual funds and future fund performance. The difference in returns of portfolios of high and of low excess cash funds amounts to over 2% annually, or approximately 3% after standard risk adjustment. I study whether this difference in performance can be explained by the differences in managerial stock selection skills, market-timing abilities, fund liquidity needs, and operating costs. I show that managers of high excess cash funds make more profitable stock purchasing decisions, while low excess cash fund managers make better sell decisions. Neither high nor low excess cash groups exhibit significant market-timing skills; however, funds with volatile excess cash holdings are successful market timers. The difference in returns between high and low excess cash groups is particularly pronounced during periods of low fund flows, suggesting that high excess cash funds are better able to anticipate fund outflows. Finally, I show that high excess cash funds incur significantly lower operating expenses than do their low excess cash peers. I additionally document new important determinants of mutual fund cash balances, showing that funds with riskier or less liquid shareholdings, as well as those with higher return gap measures hold more cash. The determinants I consider jointly explain three times more cross-sectional variation in cash positions than variables studied in prior literature.
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