Agency-Based Asset Pricing and the Beta Anomaly


  • The author thanks four anonymous referees, the editor (John Doukas), Joop Huij, Simon Lansdorp and Pim van Vliet for valuable feedback on earlier versions of this paper, and Simon Lansdorp also for programming assistance.


I argue that delegated portfolio management can cause the equilibrium relation between CAPM beta and expected stock returns to become flat, instead of linearly positive, and propose an alternative to the widely used Fama and French (1993) 3-factor asset pricing model which incorporates this agency effect. An empirical comparison of the two models shows that the agency-based 3-factor model is much better at explaining the performance of portfolios sorted on beta or volatility, and at least as good at explaining the performance of various other test portfolios, including those the original 3-factor model was designed to explain.