oa Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - An empirical study of the determinants of net investment flows of South African General Equity unit trusts

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1022-2529



The unit trust industry is one of the fastest growing areas in the financial sector. This dramatic growth has raised concern about the level of investors' knowledge, or lack thereof, relating to the factors associated with investment decisions. This study investigates the factors and dynamics behind cash flows into and from General Equity unit trusts from September 1996 to September 2001, and the extent to which market factors and unit trust characteristics explain the variation in cash flows.

The analysis shows a significant positive relationship between cash flows and contemporaneous returns of the General Equity unit trusts and the equity market, while being negatively related to one-month lagged returns and cash flows. Several of the determinants, including interest rates, fee structures, risk and fund size, are found to be insignificant at a 5% level. The results indicate that investors exhibit an element of profit maximisation, driven by performances and irrationality, in that they give less consideration to fee structures, risk and fund size.

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