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Author:Van Tassel, Peter 

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

Discussion Paper
Tax Reform's Impact on Bank and Corporate Cyclicality

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is expected to increase after-tax profits for most companies, primarily by lowering the top corporate statutory tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. At the same time, the TCJA provides less favorable treatment of net operating losses and limits the deductibility of net interest expense. We explain how the latter set of changes may heighten bank and corporate borrower cyclicality by making bank capital and default risk for highly levered corporations more sensitive to economic downturns.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180716

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

Report
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

Discussion Paper
How Has Post-Crisis Banking Regulation Affected Hedge Funds and Prime Brokers?

“Arbitrageurs” such as hedge funds play a key role in the efficiency of financial markets. They compare closely related assets, then buy the relatively cheap one and sell the relatively expensive one, thereby driving the prices of the assets closer together. For executing trades and other services, hedge funds rely on prime brokers and broker-dealers. In a previous Liberty Street Economics blog post, we argued that post-crisis changes to regulation and market structure have increased the costs of arbitrage activity, potentially contributing to the persistent deviations in the prices of ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20201019

Report
Bank-intermediated arbitrage

We argue that post-crisis banking regulations pass through from regulated institutions to unregulated arbitrageurs. We document that, once post-crisis regulations bind post 2014, hedge funds use a larger number of prime brokers and diversify away from GSIB-affiliated prime brokers, and that the match to such prime brokers is more fragile. Tighter regulatory constraints disincentivize regulated institutions not only to engage in arbitrage activity themselves but also to provide leverage to other arbitrageurs. Indeed, we show that the maximum leverage allowed and the implied return on basis ...
Staff Reports , Paper 858

Report
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

Discussion Paper
Regulatory Changes and the Cost of Capital for Banks

In response to the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, a number of regulations were passed to improve the safety and soundness of the financial system. In this post and our related staff report, we provide a new perspective on the effect of these regulations by estimating the cost of capital for banks over the past two decades. We find that, while banks? cost of capital soared during the financial crisis, after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), banks experienced a greater decrease in their cost of capital than nonbanks and nonbank financial intermediaries (NBFI).
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20181001a

Discussion Paper
Equity Volatility Term Premia

Investors can buy volatility hedges on the stock market using variance swaps or VIX futures. One motivation for hedging volatility is its negative relationship with the stock market. When volatility increases, stock returns tend to decline contemporaneously, a result known as the leverage effect. In this post, we measure the cost of volatility hedging by decomposing the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures into volatility forecasts and estimates of expected returns (“equity volatility term premia”) from January 1996 to June 2020.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210203

Report
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

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