The pricing of closed-end funds presents several puzzles. The following are the four sets of facts that any theory of closed-end fund pricing must address. 1) New funds appear on the market at a premium and move rapidly to a discount. 2) Closed-end funds usually trade at substantial discounts relative to their net asset values. 3) Discounts (and premia) are subject to wide variation, both over time and across funds. 4) When closed-end funds are terminated, either through merger, liquidation, or conversion to an open-end fund, prices converge to reported net asset value. These four puzzles raise basic questions about the operation of financial markets. How can prices diverge from fundamental values? Why don't the forces of arbitrage drive prices back in line? These are the questions we will try to address in this column.
"Anomalies: Closed-End Mutual Funds." Journal of Economic Perspectives,