David Miles, 23 March 2018

The housing market faces major challenges in both the short and long run in terms of affordability, price variability, ownership structures, financing, and their impacts upon wider macroeconomic stability. This column summarises a conference on lessons for the future of housing, jointly organised by the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis at Imperial College Business School and CEPR.

Stefan Avdjiev, Leonardo Gambacorta, Linda Goldberg, Stefano Schiaffi, 20 March 2018

The post-crisis period has seen a considerable shift in drivers of international bank lending and international bond issuance, the two main components of global liquidity. This column describes how the sensitivity of cross-border lending to global risk conditions declined substantially post-crisis, becoming similar to that of international bond issuance. This fall largely reflects a change in the composition of international lenders.

Nathan Converse, Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Tomás Williams, 20 March 2018

The share of fund assets held in exchange-traded funds has risen from 3.5% in 2005 to 14% in 2017, and to 20% for funds in emerging market assets. This column uses reported investor flows to argue that this is related to increased exposure of aggregate portfolio equity capital inflows to global risk. On this evidence, exchange-traded fund flows amplify the global financial cycle.

Lorenzo Casaburi, 25 January 2018

Zsofia Doeme, Stefan Kerbl, 24 January 2018

Risk weights define each bank's minimum capital requirements, but many doubt the comparability of the risk weights that banks report. This column quantifies the variability of these weights across banks, and finds that the country where a bank is headquartered creates statistically significant and economically important differences. Model output floors, as recently agreed upon by the Basel Committee, would reduce this unintended risk weight heterogeneity.

Mushfiq Mobarak, Karen Levy, Maira Reimão, 14 November 2017

Marlene Amstad, Eli Remolona, Jimmy Shek, 28 October 2017

Global investors are assumed to differentiate between economies using economic fundamentals. This column uses returns on sovereign CDS contracts for 18 emerging markets and ten advanced countries to argue that fundamentals do not drive these decisions. Instead, most of the variation across sovereigns reflects whether or not the country is designated as an 'emerging market'. Investment strategies tend simply to replicate benchmark portfolios.

Max Bruche, Frédéric Malherbe, Ralf R Meisenzahl, 11 September 2017

Syndicated loan issuance has grown dramatically over the last 25 years. Over the period, the syndicated loan business model has evolved, affecting the nature of the associated risks that arranging banks are exposed to. This column introduces the concept of ‘pipeline’ risk –the risk associated with marketing the loans during the syndication process. Pipeline risk forces arranging banks to hold much larger shares of very risky syndicated term loans, which results in reduced lending by the arran­­ging bank not only in the syndicated term loan market, but in others as well.

Ricardo Caballero, Alp Simsek, 30 August 2017

Interest rates continue to decline across the globe, while returns to capital remain constant or increasing. The reasons for this widening risky-safe gap are wide-ranging. This column illustrates the secular rise of risk intolerance in the global economy, and summarises a new macroeconomic framework suitable for this environment. It uses this framework to discuss the current global macroeconomic context, its underlying fragility, and the coexistence of low equilibrium interest rates and high speculation.

Vittoria Cerasi, Sebastian M. Deininger, Leonardo Gambacorta, Tommaso Oliviero, 07 August 2017

Since 2011, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has implemented compensation principles and standards for executives and material risk-takers in many financial institutions. This column presents evidence that banks in jurisdictions that adopted them changed their compensation policies more than other banks. Compensation in these banks is less linked to short-term profits and more linked to risk, and the CEOs of risky banks now receive less in bonuses and other variable compensation than their peers at less risky banks.

Alison Booth, Eiji Yamamura, 14 March 2017

Differences in attitudes to competition or risk may contribute to explaining gender gaps in wages and other labour market outcomes. This column analyses performance data from speedboat races in Japan revealing that women tend to race more slowly against men than against other women only, while men are faster in mixed-sex races. This finding may be driven by the skewed gender balance towards men in mixed-sex races triggering awareness of gender identity for both men and women, with implications for other activities in which men and women compete and women are outnumbered, such as the STEM disciplines.

Paul Whelan, 10 February 2017

Investing in stocks instead of bonds is risky. In this video, Paul Whelan discusses the importance of expected inflation. This video was recorded at the Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis in December 2016.

Söhnke Bartram, 11 January 2017

Anomalies have returns above risk factors. In this video, Söhnke Bartram discusses three reasons why anomalies exist, and their implications. This video was recorded at the Brevan Howard Center for Financial Analysis in December 2016.

Thorsten Beck, Elena Carletti, Itay Goldstein, 22 November 2016

The Global Crisis has led to a new wave of regulation. This column argues that improved capital requirements, liquidity requirements, bank resolution and cross-border regulatory cooperation are welcome, but that unresolved problems remain. Specifically, regulation may become too complex, focus too little on macroprudential risks, be inadequate to deal with crises in global financial institutions, or fail to cope with financial innovation.

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie, 07 October 2016

Many policies have been put in place to constrain the expansion of banks across economic borders, in part to avoid them becoming too big and interconnected to fail. However, some argue that such expansion can reduce risk. This column evaluates the impact of geographic expansion on the cost of a bank’s interest-bearing liabilities. Geographic diversification materially lowers bank holding companies’ funding costs, suggesting there is a real cost of restricting banks from using geographic expansion to diversify their risks.

Friederike Niepmann, Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 11 June 2016

To mitigate the risks of international trade for firms, banks offer trade finance products – specifically, letters of credit and documentary collections. This column exploits new data from the SWIFT Institute to establish key facts on the use of these instruments in world trade. Letters of credit (documentary collections) cover 12.5% (1.7%) of world trade, or $2.3 trillion ($310 billion). 

Dennis Bams, Magdalena Pisa, Christian Wolff, 02 May 2016

In the absence of full information about small businesses’ risk of loan default, banks are unable to accurately calculate counterparty risk. This column suggests that banks can use industry and linked-industry data to better establish counterparty risk, because distress from one industry is transmitted to supplier and customer industries. A reliable and easily available signal for such distress is any failure reported by S&P.

Roel Beetsma, Siert Vos, 23 February 2016

There is a broad consensus that banks and insurance companies may contribute to systemic risk in the financial system. For other financial market institutions, it is less clear-cut. This column examines the resilience of pension funds to severe shocks. While the evidence indicates that they are of low systematic importance, policy trends that apply to all financial players may undermine this. Specifically, risk-based solvency requirements carry the risk of homogenising the behaviour of all players, potentially amplifying shocks and destabilising markets.

Di Gong, Harry Huizinga, Luc Laeven, 18 February 2016

Prior to the Global Crisis, banks could easily use off-balance sheet structures to lower their effective capitalisation rates. This column examines another way that US banks circumvented capital regulations – by maintaining minority-owned, non-consolidated subsidiaries. Had these subsidiaries been consolidated, average reported equity-to-assets ratios would have been 3.5% lower. These findings suggest that some US banks were actively misrepresenting the riskiness of their assets prior to the crisis.

Clemens Bonner, 03 January 2016

Economists continue to debate whether preferential treatment in financial regulation increases banks’ demand for government bonds. This column looks at bank purchases of government bonds and other types of bonds when constrained by a capital or liquidity requirement. Financial regulation seems to be a main driver of banks’ demand. If regulators wish to break the vicious circle from weak banks to weak governments, revising financial regulation seems to be a good starting point.



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