Style Drift and Alphas: A Case Study in International Retail Funds

Cathy S Goldberg, Carol M Graham, Francisco A Delgado


This paper examines style drift and alphas for a sample of 110 international retail funds offered to individual investors. We show that when fund managers “deviate” from their stated categories, alphas are biased upward. While previous studies in the international stock arena typically employ theoretical constructs to benchmark fund performance, we employ an actual investable vehicle (tradeable ETFs) in the same categories as the funds. For the period 2002-2020, we show empirically that managers do indeed deviate from their stated fund categories with subsequent upward bias to their fund alphas. For over half of the funds in our sample, we find significant drift to emerging markets and to the US equity market. We observe that alpha is biased upward an average of 86 basis points for the retail funds examined in this study.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Cathy S Goldberg, Carol M Graham, Francisco A Delgado

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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