Document Type


Publication Date



We examine whether the success of hedge fund market timing strategies can be replicated. We develop a methodology for creating a portfolio of ETFs to capture risk factor exposures of market timing hedge funds identified using extant market timing measures. We find that the top market timing hedge funds outperform their ETF clone peers and the superior performance cannot be replicated. We show that the irreplicable market timing skills are more profound in certain hedge fund styles. Finally, we provide evidence that the success of market timing strategies is driven by non-cloneable hedge funds that possess managerial skills.

Copyright Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Duanmu, J., Li; Y., & Malakhov, A. (2021). Active Factor Investing: Hedge Funds Versus the Rest of Us. Review of Financial Economics, 39(4), 424-441,

which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.