Carrot and stick: A role for benchmark-adjusted compensation in active fund management

Juan Sotes-Paladino*, Fernando Zapatero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Investors delegating their wealth to privately informed managers face not only an intrinsic asymmetric information problem but also a potential misalignment in risk preferences. In this setting, we show that by tying fees symmetrically to the appropriate benchmark investors can tilt a fund portfolio toward their optimal risk exposure and realize nearly all the value of managers’ information. They attain these benefits despite an inherent inefficiency in the choice of the benchmark, and at no extra cost of compensating managers for exposure to relative-performance risk. Under certain conditions, benchmark-adjusted performance fees are necessary to prevent passive alternatives from dominating active management. Our results shed light on a recent debate on the appropriate fee structure of active funds in contexts of high competition from passive funds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100981
JournalJournal of Financial Intermediation
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Asymmetric information
  • Benchmarking
  • Fulcrum fees
  • Passive management
  • Portfolio delegation


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