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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
The Low Volatility Puzzle: Are Investors Complacent?
In recent months, some analysts and policymakers have raised concerns about the unusually low level of stock market volatility. For example, in the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes ?a few participants expressed concern that subdued market volatility, coupled with a low equity premium, could lead to a buildup of risks to financial stability.? In this post, we review this concern and find the evidence on investor complacency is mixed. On one hand, we present a view suggesting that historical volatility may have been abnormally high, rather than current volatility being ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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).
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 ...