The role of specialization in mutual fund investment strategies: An exploratory study of the life sciences industry.


  • Osne Frans Kirzner University of Amsterdam
  • Lorraine Marie Uhlaner



Specialty mutual funds, investment strategy, life sciences, biotechnology


This paper explores possible differences in investment strategies between specialty and non-specialty funds in the life sciences industry. The results were based on proprietary information collected in telephone interviews from 28 mutual funds located in nine European countries. As predicted, specialty funds have shorter holding periods, are more event-driven, and are more likely to focus their investment strategies on established technologies. Counter to our predictions, specialty funds are no less likely to invest in novel technologies. Also counter to predictions, specialty funds place more importance on conventional finance methods in selecting firms, and they are no more likely to use non-conventional finance valuation or non-financial criteria when selecting companies for their portfolios. This exploratory study provides new insights into differences in investment strategies between specialty and non-specialty mutual funds, which may help to explain the underlying performance difference, found in previous research. Furthermore, this study may be helpful to alert life sciences entrepreneurs to the factors that these mutual fund managers are likely to consider when determining their investment strategies. Finally, it provides insights relevant to investors seeking to build better investment strategies for life sciences stocks.

Author Biography

Lorraine Marie Uhlaner

EDHEC Business School, on the Lille (Roubaix) campus, in France


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