The Lure of the Brand: Evidence from the European Mutual Fund Industry


  • We would like to thank David Rakowski, Rafael Zambrana, Lars Kaiser, two anonymous European Financial Management referees, the editor John Doukas, the participants at the Oxford–Man Institute internal seminar series and at the University of Bath, School of Management seminar, for their comments. Any remaining errors are our own. We are grateful to Fund Buyer Focus for making their brand data available to us. Mariela Stefanova conducted this research while at NN Investment Partners. Fabian Irek is supported by the National Research Fund, Luxembourg. Correspondence: Fabian Irek.


We investigate the effect of the fund family's brand on mutual fund flows by using a unique data set that represents a direct assessment of the brand image of European fund providers. A superior brand image increases the sensitivity of flows to good past performance, while it protects against outflows when there is underperformance. Flows of funds of independent providers have a higher sensitivity to past performance and brand image than flows of funds of providers owned by banks or insurers. These findings highlight the importance of marketing and brand in generating growth for the fund families.