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(2022) Salman Zadeh Seysan, RastinThesisUsing the VC industry as a laboratory, we investigate whether incidental in-person interactions between people working in close proximity facilitate their future collaboration on projects of significant economic value. Our analysis exploits urban topological features surrounding VC fund offices that generate exogenous variations in the likelihood of incidental in-person interactions. We show that such variations influence syndicate partner choice among VCs within narrowly defined (walkable) geographic zones. Workplace smoking bans affecting social smoking appear to reduce such effects. Weather patterns that exogenously restrict VC fund managers’ outdoor activity are also shown to moderate the role played by incidental encounters. Our results cannot be explained by VCs’ characteristics, prior relationships, and portfolio firms’ locations. Finally, syndicated deals driven by in-person interactions do not appear to generate superior returns.
(2021) Besley, MichaelThesisBoth industry and academic research document the sustained outperformance of Australian small capitalisation (cap) managers with regard to market benchmarks and standard academic models. In contrast to both their large company peers and overseas fund manager returns, the high relative returns generated by these small company managers have continued despite increased competition from new managers. This paper confirms the persistence of these anomalous returns and explores the sources of alpha generation by Australian small cap managers. The commonly used Carhart factor model does not explain the persistence of this alpha. Carhart alpha averages 0.3% per month for the group, with 22 out of 46 funds having statistically significant alphas. By adding a combination of factors to the standard Carhart model approximately two thirds of this alpha can be explained. These factors include betting against beta, avoidance of stocks with lottery characteristics, a preference for stocks with strong profitability and strong balance sheets while avoiding ‘junk’ stocks. After controlling for all these factors, average alpha declines to 0.08% per month with only four funds still having statistically significant alpha. While most managers avoid high beta and lottery stocks, the better performing funds demonstrate higher loadings away from lottery and distressed stocks and towards profitability factors than their poorer performing peers.