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Are Higher Haircuts Better? A Paradox
Repurchase agreement (repo) markets played an important role in the 2007-09 financial crisis in the United States, and much discussion since then has focused on the role of repo haircuts. A repo is essentially a loan collateralized by securities. Typically, the value of the securities exceeds the value of the loan and the amount of overcollateralization corresponds to the haircut. In a 2010 paper, Yale?s Gary Gorton and Andy Metrick identified a dramatic increase in haircuts in the bilateral segment of the repo market, which they interpreted as a run on repo. Separately, an industry task force aimed at reforming a different segment of the market, the tri-party repo market, indicated that haircuts may have been too low during the crisis, given the volatility of many of the underlying assets? values. Maintaining higher haircuts throughout the business cycle could solve both problems: the excessively rapid increase in haircuts in the bilateral segment of the market and the low level of haircuts in the tri-party segment. But are permanent higher haircuts always better? In this post, we dig a little deeper and find that they can have paradoxical effects.
AUTHORS: McAndrews, James J.; Copeland, Adam; Martin, Antoine; Begalle, Brian; McLaughlin, Susan
Repo and securities lending
We provide an overview of the data required to monitor repo and securities lending markets for the purposes of informing policymakers and researchers about firm-level and systemic risk. We start by explaining the functioning of these markets and argue that it is crucial to understand the institutional arrangements. Data collection is currently incomplete. A comprehensive collection would include, at a minimum, six characteristics of repo and securities lending trades at the firm level: principal amount, interest rate, collateral type, haircut, tenor, and counterparty.
AUTHORS: Adrian, Tobias; Begalle, Brian; Copeland, Adam; Martin, Antoine
The risk of fire sales in the tri-party repo market
This paper studies the risk of "fire sales" in the tri-party repo market, a large and important market where securities dealers find short-term funding for a substantial portion of their own and their clients' assets. We distinguish between fire sales of assets by a dealer who, facing a run that could lead to default, sells securities to generate liquidity, and fire sales of assets by repo investors after a dealer's default has occurred. While fire sales do cause damage no matter how they arise, the tools available to lessen the harm from the two types of fire sales are different. We find that limited tools are available to mitigate the risk of pre-default fire sales and that no established tools currently exist to mitigate the risk of post-default sales.
AUTHORS: Begalle, Brian; Martin, Antoine; McAndrews, James J.; McLaughlin, Susan