Date of Submission
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
2018 Shruti R Topudurti
Active versus passive investing is a popular topic within the investment community and beyond. In particular, many are concerned with fund flows in and out of active and passive investments. Existing research suggests that recent returns are a reason for the capital flow from active to passive and that fees also impact flows negatively. With U.S. equity mutual funds as a proxy for active investing and U.S. equity ETFs as a proxy for passive investing, I show that prior month flows have a positive and significant relationship with current flows for both ETFs and mutual funds, as well as for flows from ETFs to mutual funds. I also show that mutual fund monthly returns have a positive relationship with flows of mutual funds and flows from ETFs to mutual funds, while ETF monthly returns have a negative relationship with flows from ETFs to mutual funds. This supports prior literature. I also find that the differential in mutual fund and ETF returns (rMF – rETF) is insignificant and negative for net fund flows into ETFs. I find a generally positive relationship between mutual fund expense ratios and flows into mutual funds, as well as with flows from ETFs to mutual funds. Finally, I find a negative relationship between ETF expense ratios and flows into ETFs, as well as with flows from ETFs to mutual funds. The relationships between expense ratios and flows mostly contradict prevailing literature, except for the relationship between ETF expense ratios and ETF flows. This suggests passive investors are potentially more price-conscious than active investors, as passive investors experience negative flows as expense ratios increase, while flows into mutual funds do not have that relationship with expense ratios. Higher fees for mutual funds may also suggest a change in the composition of mutual funds, as funds similar to ETFs exit and new mutual funds become even more active.
Topudurti, Shruti, "Determinants of Flows Between Active and Passive Equity Investments" (2018). CMC Senior Theses. 1952.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.