Sustainability or Performance? Ratings and Fund Managers' Incentives

47 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2021

See all articles by Nickolay Gantchev

Nickolay Gantchev

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Mariassunta Giannetti

Stockholm School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swedish House of Finance

Rachel Li

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies

Date Written: March 1, 2021

Abstract

We show that following the introduction of Morningstar's sustainability ratings (the "globe" ratings), mutual funds attempt to improve their globe ratings by increasing their demand for sustainable stocks. This trading behavior creates buying pressure, making stocks with high sustainability ratings overvalued. As a consequence, a tradeoff between sustainability and performance arises and the performance of funds improving their globe ratings deteriorates. As performance appears to be more important in attracting flows than sustainability, a new equilibrium emerges in which the globe ratings stop affecting investor flows and funds no longer trade to improve their globe ratings. Our results highlight the issues arising when funds are evaluated along two different dimensions that create conflicting incentives for fund managers competing for flows.

JEL Classification: G11, G12, G23, G24

Suggested Citation

Gantchev, Nickolay and Giannetti, Mariassunta and Li, Qingqiu, Sustainability or Performance? Ratings and Fund Managers' Incentives (March 1, 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15945, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3816819

Nickolay Gantchev (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.NickolayGantchev.com

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cepr.org

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://ecgi.global/users/nickolay-gantchev

Mariassunta Giannetti

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
SE-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 736 9607 (Phone)
+46 8 312 327 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/mariassuntagiannetti/Home

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

Qingqiu Li

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 870244
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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