Summary: International mutual funds are one of the main channels for capital flows to emerging economies. Although mutual funds have become important contributors to financial market integration, little is known about their investment allocation, and strategies. The authors provide an overview of mutual fund activity in emerging markets. First, they describe international mutual funds' relative size, asset allocation, and country allocation. Second, they focus on fund behavior during crises, by analyzing data at the level of both investors, and fund managers. Among their findings: Equity investment in emerging markets has grown rapidly in the 1990s, much of it flowing through mutual funds. Collectively, these funds hold a sizable share of market capitalization in emerging economies. Asian, and Latin American funds achieved the fastest growth, but are smaller than domestic U.S. funds and world funds. When investigating abroad, U.S. mutual funds invest more in equity than in bonds. World funds invest mainly in developed nations (Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States). Ten percent of their investment is in Asia, and Latin America. Mutual funds usually invest in a few countries within each region. Mutual fund investment was very responsive to the crises of the 1990s. Withdrawals from emerging markets during recent crises were large, which squares with existing evidence of financial contagion. Investments in Asian, and Latin American mutual funds are volatile. Because redemptions, and injections are large, relative to total funds under management, fund's flows are not stable. The cash held by managers during injections, and redemptions does not fluctuate significantly, so investors' actions are typically reflected in emerging market inflows, and outflows.
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