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Keywords:reach for yield 

Working Paper
Reach for Yield by U.S. Public Pension Funds

This paper studies whether U.S. public pension funds reach for yield by taking more investment risk in a low interest rate environment. To study funds? risk-taking behavior, we first present a simple theoretical model relating risk-taking to the level of risk-free rates, to their underfunding, and to the fiscal condition of their state sponsors. The theory identifies two distinct channels through which interest rates and other factors may affect risk-taking: by altering plans? funding ratios, and by changing risk premia. The theory also shows the effect of state finances on funds? risk-taking ...
Supervisory Research and Analysis Working Papers , Paper RPA 19-2

Report
Competition, reach for yield, and money market funds

Do asset managers reach for yield because of competitive pressures in a low-rate environment? I propose a tournament model of money market funds (MMFs) to study this issue. When funds care about relative performance, an increase in the risk premium leads funds with lower default costs to increase risk-taking, while funds with higher default costs decrease risk-taking. Without changes in the premium, lower risk-free rates reduce the risk-taking of all funds. I show that these predictions are consistent with MMF risk-taking during the 2002-08 period and that rank-based performance is indeed a ...
Staff Reports , Paper 753

Discussion Paper
Do Low Rates Encourage Yield Seeking by Money Market Funds?

The term ?reach for yield? refers to investors? tendency to buy riskier assets in hopes of securing higher returns. Do low rates on safe assets encourage such yield-seeking behavior, particularly among U.S. prime money market funds (MMFs)? In a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Financial Economics, I develop a model of MMF competition to understand whether competitive pressure leads these funds to reach for yield in a low-rate environment like the current one. I test the model?s predictions on the 2002-08 period and show that, after controlling for changes in risk premia, declines in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180307

Discussion Paper
Leverage Rule Arbitrage

Classic arbitrage involves the same asset selling at different prices; the leverage rule arbitrage we study here involves assets of different risk levels requiring the same amount of capital. The supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) rule, finalized by U.S. regulators in September 2014, requires a minimum ratio of capital to assets at the largest U.S. banks. The floor is higher for more systemically important banks, but not for banks with riskier assets. That non-risk-based aspect of SLR was intentional, since the leverage limit was meant to backstop (?supplement?) risk-based capital rules in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20181012

Working Paper
Reach for Yield by U.S. Public Pension Funds

This paper studies whether U.S. public pension funds reach for yield by taking more investment risk in a low interest rate environment. To study funds?? risk-taking behavior, we first present a simple theoretical model relating risk-taking to the level of risk-free rates, to their underfunding, and to the fiscal condition of their state sponsors. The theory identifies two distinct channels through which interest rates and other factors may affect risk-taking: by altering plans?? funding ratios, and by changing risk premia. The theory also shows the effect of state finances on funds?? ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-048

Speech
The Economic Outlook – and Two Risks to the Forecast that are Worth Watching

Private forecasters and FOMC participants anticipate a good outcome for the economy in 2020 and beyond, with low inflation and strong labor markets. However, as with any forecast, there are risk scenarios that are not captured in the most likely outcome for the economy. I have highlighted two potential risks that I will be monitoring this year – inflation picking up more than currently expected; and asset prices, particularly real estate prices, showing evidence of more acute financial stability risks. To be fair, there are also downside risks to the economic outlook, as well – primarily ...
Speech

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