Sunday, January 30, 2011

Following the Short Seller: Do Short Selling Bans Prevent Herding During Financial Crises?

By Pierre L. Siklos, Martin T. Bohl and Arne Klein

Abstract: In the literature on short selling restrictions, their impact on pricing efficiency liquidity and trading costs is mostly investigated. Surprisingly little is known about the effects of short selling restrictions on institutional investors' herding behavior. If short selling bans hinder institutional investors from herding during stock market downturns, regulators have a successful tool to prevent further stock price declines. However, our empirical findings for six stock markets do not support this hypothesis.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Adverse Selection, Liquidity, and Market Breakdown (Bank of Canada)

By Koralai Kirabaeva

Abstract: This paper studies the interaction between adverse selection, liquidity risk and beliefs about systemic risk in determining market liquidity, asset prices and welfare. Even a small amount of adverse selection in the asset market can lead to fire-sale pricing and possibly to a market breakdown if it is accompanied by a flight-to-liquidity, a misassessment of systemic risk, or uncertainty about asset values. The ability to trade based on private information improves welfare if adverse selection does not lead to a market breakdown. Informed trading allows financial institutions to reduce idiosyncratic risks, but it exacerbates their exposure to systemic risk. Further, I show that in a market equilibrium, financial institutions overinvest into risky illiquid assets (relative to the constrained efficient allocation), which creates systemic externalities. Also, I explore possible policy responses and discuss their effectiveness.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Systemic Risk and the U.S. Insurance Sector (SSRN)

By John David Cummins and Mary A. Weiss

Abstract: This paper examines the potential for the U.S. insurance industry to cause systemic risk events that spill over to other segments of the economy. We examine primary indicators that determine whether institutions are systemically risky as well as contributing factors that exacerbate vulnerability to systemic events. Evaluation of systemic risk is based on a detailed financial analysis of the insurance industry, its role in the economy, and the interconnectedness of insurers. The primary conclusion is that the core activities of the U.S. insurers do not pose systemic risk. However, life insurers are vulnerable to intra-sector crises because of leverage and liquidity risk; and both life and property-casualty insurers are vulnerable to reinsurance crises arising from counterparty credit exposure. Non-core activities such as derivatives trading have the potential to cause systemic risk, and most global insurance organizations have exposure to derivatives markets. To reduce systemic risk from non-core activities, regulators need to develop better mechanisms for insurance group supervision.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

CEBS final guidelines on Article 122a of the CRD

The Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) has today published its final guidelines on the application of Article 122a of the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD).

Article 122a of the CRD provides new requirements to be fulfilled by credit institutions when acting in a particular capacity, such as originator or sponsor, and also when investing in securitisations. These include retention on an on-going basis of a material net economic interest of not less than 5% (so called “skin in the game”), due diligence and disclosure.

Following the amendments made to the CRD relating to securitisations, CEBS is required to issue guidelines ensuring convergence of supervisory practices with regard to the application of Article 122a. In particular, guidance is required on the implementation of the retention clause by the originator, the sponsor or original lender and on the due diligence and risk management practices credit institutions are asked to carry out when investing in securitisation positions.

Besides fostering a common understanding among the competent authorities across the EEA on the implementation and application of Article 122a, the current guidelines provide clarity as well as greater transparency for market participants in order to assist compliance by credit institutions with the relevant requirements of the Directive. In particular, CEBS provides an updated framework for competent authorities to apply an additional risk weight for infringements of the provisions of Article 122a.

In delivering its guidelines, CEBS has benefited from the views gathered from market participants through the responses to the public consultation (CP40) which ended on 1 October 2010, and through a public hearing held on 22 July 2010.

CEBS expects its Members to adopt the guidelines into their national supervisory framework and apply them from 1 January 2011, that is, when the new Directive provisions come into force.

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