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Bond Market Intermediation and the Role of Repo
This paper models the important role that repurchase agreements (repos) play in bond market intermediation. Not only do repos allow dealers to finance their activities, but they also increase dealers' ability to satisfy levered client demands without having to adjust their holdings of risky assets. In effect, the ability to borrow specific assets for delivery allows dealers to source large quantity of assets without taking ownership of them. Larger levered client orders imply larger asset borrowing demands, thus increasing the borrowing cost for the asset (i.e., repo specialness). Dealers pass on the higher intermediation cost to their clients in the form of higher bid-ask spreads. Although this method of intermediation is optimal, the use of repos significantly increases dealers' balance sheets. Limiting one dealer's balance sheet leverage, leaving all else equal, reduces the affected dealer's market making abilities and increases his bid-ask spreads. The equilibrium effect of limiting all dealers' balance sheet leverage on bid-ask spreads is unclear, and depends on the intensity of clients' demand and securities lenders' sensitivity to repo specialness.
AUTHORS: Huh, Yesol; Infante, Sebastian
Customer Liquidity Provision : Implications for Corporate Bond Transaction Costs
The convention in calculating trading costs in corporate bond markets is to assume that dealers provide liquidity to non-dealers (customers) and calculate average bid-ask spreads that customers pay dealers. We show that customers often provide liquidity in corporate bond markets, and thus, average bid-ask spreads underestimate trading costs that customers demanding liquidity pay. Compared with periods before the 2008 financial crisis, substantial amounts of liquidity provision have moved from the dealer sector to the non-dealer sector, consistent with decreased dealer risk capacity. Among trades where customers are demanding liquidity, we find that these trades pay 35 to 50 percent higher spreads than before the crisis. Our results indicate that liquidity decreased in corporate bond markets and can help explain why despite the decrease in dealers' risk capacity, average bid-ask spread estimates remain low.
AUTHORS: Choi, Jaewon; Huh, Yesol
Machines vs. Machines: High Frequency Trading and Hard Information
In today's markets where high frequency traders (HFTs) act as both liquidity providers and takers, I argue that information asymmetry induced by liquidity-taking HFTs' use of machine-readable information is important. This particular type of information asymmetry arises because some machines may access the information before other machines or because of randomness in relative speed. Applying a novel statistical approach to measure HFT activity through limit order book data and using a natural experiment of index inclusion, I show that liquidity-providing HFTs supply less liquidity to stocks that suffer more from this information asymmetry problem. Moreover, when markets are volatile, this information asymmetry problem becomes more severe, and HFTs supply less liquidity. I discuss implications for market-making activity in times of market stress and for HFT regulations.
AUTHORS: Huh, Yesol