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Author:Van Tassel, Peter 

Global variance term premia and intermediary risk appetite

Sellers of variance swaps earn time-varying risk premia for their exposure to realized variance, the level of variance swap rates, and the slope of the variance swap curve. To measure risk premia, we estimate a dynamic term structure model that decomposes variance swap rates into expected variances and term premia. Empirically, we document a strong global factor structure in variance term premia across the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan. We further show that variance term premia are negatively correlated with the risk appetite of hedge funds, broker-dealers, and mutual funds. Our results ...
Staff Reports , Paper 789

Equity Volatility Term Premia

This paper estimates the term-structure of volatility risk premia for the stock market. Realized variance term premia are increasing in systematic risk and predict variance swap returns. Implied volatility term premia are decreasing in risk initially, but then increase at a lag, predicting VIX futures returns. By modeling the logarithm of realized variance, the paper derives a closed-form relationship between the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures. The model provides accurate pricing and highlights periods of dislocation between the index options and VIX futures markets. Term premia ...
Staff Reports , Paper 867

Evaluating regulatory reform: banks’ cost of capital and lending

We examine the effects of regulatory changes on banks’ cost of capital and lending. Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the value-weighted CAPM cost of capital for banks has averaged 10.5 percent and declined by more than 4 percent on a within-firm basis relative to financial crisis highs. This decrease was much greater for the largest banks subject to new regulation than for other banks and firms. Over a longer twenty-year horizon, we find that changes in the systematic risk of bank equity have real economic consequences: increases in banks’ cost of capital are associated with ...
Staff Reports , Paper 854

Discussion Paper
Bank-Intermediated Arbitrage

Since the 2007-09 financial crisis, the prices of closely related assets have shown persistent deviations—so-called basis spreads. Because such disparities create apparent profit opportunities, the question arises of why they are not arbitraged away. In a recent Staff Report, we argue that post-crisis changes to regulation and market structure have increased the costs to banks of participating in spread-narrowing trades, creating limits to arbitrage. In addition, although one might expect hedge funds to act as arbitrageurs, we find evidence that post-crisis regulation affects not only the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20181018

The Law of One Price in Equity Volatility Markets

This paper documents law of one price violations in equity volatility markets. While tightly linked by no-arbitrage restrictions, the prices of VIX futures exhibit significant deviations relative to their option-implied upper bounds. Static arbitrage opportunities occur when the prices of VIX futures violate their bounds. The deviations widen during periods of market stress and predict the returns of VIX futures. A relative value trading strategy based on the deviation measure earns a large Sharpe ratio and economically significant alpha-to-margin. There is evidence that systematic risk and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 953

Discussion Paper
Treasury Market When-Issued Trading Activity

When the U.S. Treasury sells a new security, the security is announced to the public, auctioned a number of days later, and then issued sometime after that. When-issued (WI) trading refers to trading of the new security after the announcement but before issuance. Such trading promotes price discovery, which may reduce uncertainty at auction, potentially lowering government borrowing costs. Despite the importance of WI trading, and the advent of Treasury trading volume statistics from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), little is known publicly about the level of WI activity. ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20201130

Discussion Paper
The Primary and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities

On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced that it would take additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the initiatives are the Primary Market and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities (PMCCF and SMCCF), whose intent is to provide support for large U.S. businesses that typically finance themselves by issuing debt in capital markets. Corporate bonds support the operations of companies with more than 17 million employees based in the United States and these bonds are key assets for retirees and pension ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200526a

Discussion Paper
The Law of One Price in Equity Volatility Markets

Can option traders take a square root? Surprisingly, maybe not. This post shows that VIX futures prices exhibit significant deviations from their option-implied upper bounds—the square root of variance swap forward rates—thus violating the law of one price, a fundamental concept in economics and finance. The deviations widen during periods of market stress and predict the returns of VIX futures. Just as the stock market struggles with multiplication, the equity volatility market appears unable to take a square root at times.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210201

Discussion Paper
The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Fed’s Response

The Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented actions to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. households and businesses. These measures include cutting the Fed’s policy rate to the zero lower bound, purchasing Treasury and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to promote market functioning, and establishing several liquidity and credit facilities. In this post, we briefly review the developments motivating these actions, summarize what the Fed has done and why, and compare the Fed’s response with its response to the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200415

Discussion Paper
The Low Volatility Puzzle: Is This Time Different?

As stock market volatility hovers near all-time lows, some analysts are questioning whether investors are complacent, drawing an analogy to the lead-up to the financial crisis. But, is this time different? We follow up on our previous post by investigating the persistence of low volatility periods. Historically, realized stock market volatility is persistent and mean-reverting: low volatility today predicts slightly higher, but still low, volatility one month and one year from now. Moreover, as of mid-September, the market is pricing implied volatility of 19 percent in one to two years? time. ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20171115




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