Evaluating Style Analysis
In this paper we evaluate applications of (return based) style analysis. The portfolio and positivity constraints imposed by style analysis are useful in constructing mimicking portfolios without short positions. Such mimicking portfolios can be used e.g. to construct efficient portfolios of mutual funds with desired factor loadings if the factor loadings in the underlying factor model are positively weighted portfolios. Under these conditions style analysis may also be used to determine a benchmark portfolio for performance measurement. Attribution of the returns on portfolios of which the actual composition is unobserved to specific asset classes on the basis of return based style analysis is attractive if moreover there are no additional cross exposures between the asset classes and if fund managers hold securities that on average have a beta of one relative to their own asset class. If such restrictions are not met, and in particular if the factor loadings do not generate a positively weighted portfolio, the restrictions inherent in return based style analysis distort the outcomes of standard regression approaches rather than that the analysis is improved. The size of the distortions is illustrated by considering empirical results on style analysis of US mutual funds.