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Bank leverage limits and regulatory arbitrage: new evidence on a recurring question
Banks are regulated more than most firms, making them good subjects to study regulatory arbitrage (avoidance). Their latest arbitrage opportunity may be the new leverage rule covering the largest U.S. banks; leverage rules require equal capital against assets with unequal risks, so banks can effectively relax the leverage constraint by increasing asset risk. Consistent with that conjecture, we find that banks covered by the new rule shifted to riskier, higher yielding securities relative to control banks. The shift began almost precisely when the rule was finalized in 2014, well before it ...
Insurance Companies and the Growth of Corporate Loans' Securitization
We show that insurance companies have almost nonupled their investments in collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) in the post-crisis period, reaching total holdings of $125 billion in 2019. The growth in CLOs’ investments has far outpaced that of loans and corporate bonds, and was characterized by a strong preference for mezzanine tranches rated investment grade over triple-A rated tranches. We document that these phenomena reflect a search for yield behavior. Conditional on capital charges, insurance companies invest more heavily in bonds and CLO tranches with higher yields. Preferences ...
Insurance Companies and the Growth of Corporate Loan Securitization
Collateralized loan obligation (CLO) issuances in the United States increased by a factor of thirteen between 2009 and 2019, with the volume of outstanding CLOs more than doubling to approach $647 billion by the end of that period. While researchers and policy makers have been investigating the impact of this growth on the cost and riskiness of corporate loans and the potential implications for financial stability, less attention has been paid to the drivers of this phenomenon. In this post, which is based on our recent paper, we shed light on the role that insurance companies have played in ...