Can Factor Timing Explain Hedge Fund Alpha?
Hedge funds are in a better position than mutual funds in timing systematic risk factors because they are less regulated and thus have more freedom to use leverage and short sales. To examine whether factor timing is a source of hedge fund alpha, this paper decomposes excess return generated by hedge funds during 1994- 2008 into security selection, factor timing, and risk premium using the new measure of performance developed by Lo (2008). I find that security selection on average explains most of the excess return generated by hedge funds, and the contributions of factor timing and risk premium are trivial. In the U.S. equity market, hedge funds on average show negative timing ability especially in recent years that include the financial crisis period of 2007-08.