April 2012

Liquidity Risk and Hedge Fund Ownership

Charles Cao and Lubomir Petrasek


Using a unique, hand-collected data set of hedge fund ownership, we examine the effects of hedge fund ownership on liquidity risk in the cross-section of stocks. After controlling for institutional preferences for stock characteristics, we find that stocks held by hedge funds as marginal investors are more sensitive to changes in aggregate liquidity than comparable stocks held by other types of institutions or by individuals. Stocks held by hedge funds also experience significantly negative abnormal returns during liquidity crises. These findings support the theory of Brunnermeier and Pedersen (2009) that ownership by levered traders leads to a greater liquidity risk.

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Keywords: Liquidity risk, institutional investors, hedge funds

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Last Update: July 10, 2020