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Overconfidence and Active Management: An Empirical Study across Swiss Pension Plans

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Pension plans in Switzerland favor active management over indexing to implement their strategic asset allocation. Empirical surveys show, however, that their success has been below expectations, as the median performance of Swiss pension plans in domestic and international equities is below market indices even gross of fees. The results of this paper's survey across decisionmakers of Swiss pension plans sheds some light on why active management is still so popular across Swiss pension plans. On average the participants in the sample are prone to the better-than-average-effect. A majority expects their managers and their overall pension plan to outperform the other survey participants in the future. The subjective perceptions of the own skill level relative to the competitors can explain the popularity of active management across Swiss pension plans.

Keywords: Active management; Better-than-average-effect; Forecasting; Manager selection; Pension plans

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Harcourt Investment Consulting AG,

Publication date: April 1, 2009


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