Do the Israeli Provident Funds have the Ability to Time the Bond and Stock Markets? An Analysis across Alternative Investments

Ofer Arbaa, Eva Varon


This paper investigates whether Israeli fund managers possess market-timing ability across asset classes over time, using 15 years of monthly data from the Israeli provident funds.  We apply three methodologies based on return based and portfolio holdings approaches. Most of the early return-based timing methods and the most recent portfolio holdings measures suggest that U.S. mutual fund managers do not possess equity timing ability. Our study is the first to test this evidence on multi- asset class provident funds in the Israeli market and compare the timing ability of fund managers in each asset class according to different approaches. We introduce an alternative holdings method that combine the asset allocation theory with that of market timing and use "excess policy" holdings data to predict future market returns.  In addition, previous studies mostly ignore the contribution of other instruments to timing decisions, which may cause any conclusions about managers' timing decisions to be incomplete. Hence, we test equity market timing with respect to all markets using a multiple market index model in the holdings approach. In line with previous research, our empirical results indicate significantly negative market timing in domestic equities according to all the measures used. On the other hand, provident fund managers on average seem to display some timing ability for government bonds.

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