Window dressing in Brazilian investment funds

ABSTRACT This paper investigates the presence of window dressing in the Brazilian investment fund market, focusing on equity funds. Window dressing is a practice that presents a particular portfolio composition to the market, which is different from that held by the fund in the reporting period. Just before the end of the period, fund managers change their positions with the aim of presenting safer, more profitable securities portfolios. We believe that there is a lack of empirical evidence on this topic in Brazil. Previous research focuses on diversification, style analysis, fund portfolio turnover, manager profile, and performance. Therefore, we believe that our paper is pioneering in presenting results on window dressing in Brazil. With the presence of window dressing, the market may signal distorted results to investors and guide their allocations towards funds in which they would not invest in the absence of such practices. Moreover, the adoption of window dressing may increase transaction costs and thus destroy value. Our results present a connection with previous studies by Bremer and Kato (1996), O’Neal (2001), Ng and Wang (2004), Ortiz, Sarto, and Vicente (2012), and Agarwal, Gay, and Ling (2014). This paper provides evidence of window dressing in Brazilian equity funds and proposes an empirical study to verify the presence of the practice between 2010 and 2016, using market model residuals, rank gap, and backward holding return gap analysis techniques. In short, our results are consistent with window dressing practices in funds managed by small companies that were losers against the Bovespa Index and presented a high tracking error in the period.