Research in Finance: Volume 24


Table of contents

(16 chapters)

A total of 12 chapters in this volume represent some current research on important topics in finance and economics. Bajaj et al. demonstrate through a time series analysis that the IPO underwriting spreads seem to be competitive, in contrast to the findings of Chen and Ritter (2000). Sealey argues that it is necessary for the regulator and deposit insurer to be an integral part to mitigate the moral hazard problem in bank regulation. Lee develops a multi-period pricing model to examine the impact of forbearance and potential moral hazard behavior on the cost of deposit insurance. Hao and Roberts show that lead lenders have significant positive influence on loan yield spreads. Daly et al. show that coincident indicators developed to track a state's gross outputs have significant influence on state-level aggregate bank performance.

Chen and Ritter (2000) documented that underwriter spreads for recent US initial public offerings (IPOs) in $20 million range as well as much larger IPOs in the $80 million range are clustered at 7%. This observation has led to a Department of Justice (DOJ) enquiry into potential price fixing by underwriters. We demonstrate through a times series analysis that IPOs have tripled in size and become much riskier over time. A pooled data analysis can therefore mask evidence of competition in the market. We find that spread clustering is not a recent phenomenon. Over time, clustering at 7% has increased as clustering above 7% has declined. IPO spreads have declined significantly over time as the firms going public more recently are riskier, underwriting efforts have increased and recent IPOs are much larger than IPOs in the past. Controlling for time trends, larger IPOs have lower average spreads. The market for underwriting IPOs seems to be competitive with entry of new firms during the hot markets.

A major theme in the literature on bank regulation is that greater reliance on market forces can mitigate the moral hazard problem inherent in government sponsored deposit insurance. Specific proposals to impose greater market discipline on banks include minimum requirements on (1) uninsured subordinated debt financing (either fixed-term or with option-type features), and (2) private coinsurance on deposits. Both proposals amount to delegating the responsibility for bank regulation to various private sector claimholders. The results suggest that such delegation (with or without claims that include option-type features) may be ineffective in lowering bank risk, at least within the present regulatory and institutional framework. Alternative mechanisms exist that can mitigate the moral hazard problem; however, it may be necessary for the regulator/deposit insurer to be an integral part of the solution.

The new Basel Accord (known as Basel II) attempts to introduce more risk-sensitive capital requirements. We propose a multiperiod deposit insurance pricing model that incorporates specific regulatory capital requirements and the possibility of capital forbearance and moral hazard. We estimate the cost of deposit insurance under alternative regulation regimes based on the building block approach of the 1988 Basel Accord (known as Basel I) and internal model-based (IMB) capital regulation. In contrast to the building block of Basel I, Basel II's IMB capital regulation links more closely the capital requirement to a bank's actual risk. We develop a multiperiod pricing model while incorporating the effects of capital forbearance and moral hazard. The fairly-priced premium rates are computed by assuming that a bank's asset value follows a GARCH process. In contrast to previous studies based on the building block capital standard, we find that forbearance and the potential moral hazard behavior will not increase the cost of deposit insurance in the scheme of Basel II's IMB capital regulation.

Prior research suggests that given the legal environment in the U.S., smaller syndicates with fewer lead banks should represent “best practices” to promote efficient monitoring and ease of renegotiation. Such syndicates should be associated with lower loan spreads. Controlling for other influences on loan pricing, we conduct tests of this proposition drawing on data from DealScan, Compustat and Federal Reserve Call Reports for U.S. loans between 1988 and 1999. Consistent with our hypothesis, the number of lead lenders is shown to have a significant positive influence on loan yield spreads.

The idea that a bank's overall performance is influenced by the regional economy in which it operates is intuitive and broadly consistent with historical bank performance. Yet, micro-level research on the topic has borne mixed results, failing to find a consistent link between various measures of bank performance and regional economic variables. This chapter attempts to reconcile the intuition with the micro-level data by aggregating bank performance, as measured by nonperforming loans, up to the state level. This level of aggregation reduces the influence of idiosyncratic bank effects sufficiently so as to examine more clearly the influence of state-level economic variables. We show that regional variables, such as employment growth and changes in real estate prices, are not particularly useful for predicting changes in bank performance, but that coincident indicators developed to track a state's gross output are quite useful. We find that these coincident indicators have a statistically significant and economically important influence on state-level, aggregate bank performance. In addition, the coincident indicators potentially contribute to the out-of-sample forecasts of the relative riskiness of state-level bank portfolios, which should be of interest to bankers and bank supervisors.

This chapter investigates the relative magnitude of the benefits of global diversification from the viewpoint of domestic investors in various countries by forming time-rolling efficient frontiers. To enhance feasibility of asset allocation strategies, the constraints of short-sales and over-weighting investments are taken into account. The empirical results suggest that local investors in less developed countries, particularly in Latin America, East Asia, and Southern Europe, comparatively benefit more from global diversification. Investors in the countries of civic-law origin tend to benefit more from global investment than the ones in the common-law states. Although the global market has become more integrated over the past decades, diversification benefits for domestic investors declined but did not vanish. The results of this chapter are useful for asset management professionals to determine target markets to promote the sales of international funds.

This chapter examines investor overreaction and seasonality in the stock markets of Korea, Hong Kong and Japan using data for the period of 1985–2004. Evidence suggests little to no reversals following days of excessive increase, but all three indices reversed 35% to 45% following days of excessive decline. Seasonality analysis revealed month-of-the-year effects, day-of-the-week effects, the Friday (weekend) effect and the January effect. The Monday effect was not evident.

In response to common criticisms on the appropriateness of mean-variance in asset allocation decisions involving hedge funds, we offer a mean-Gini framework as an alternative. The mean-Gini framework does not require the usual normality assumption concerning return distributions. We also evaluate empirically the differences in allocation outcomes between the two frameworks using historical data. The differences turn out to be significant. The evidence thus confirms the inappropriateness of the mean-variance framework and enhances the attractiveness of mean-Gini for this asset class.

Stock ownership and incentive options are used by companies to retain and motivate employees and managers. These grants usually come with vesting features which require grantees to hold the assets for certain periods. This vesting requirement makes the grantee's total wealth highly undiversified. As a result, as shown by previous researchers, grantees tend to value these incentive securities below market. In this case, grantees will have a strong desire to hedge away the firm-specific risk. Facing the restrictions of direct hedges such as shorting the firm's stock, employees may implement a partial hedge by taking positions in an asset highly correlated with the firm's stock, such as an industry index. In this chapter, we investigate the effects of such a partial hedge. Using the continuous-time, consumption-portfolio framework as a backdrop, we demonstrate that the hedging index can enhance the employee's optimal portfolio holding and increase his intertemporal utility. Consequently, his private valuations of these grants are higher than that without the partial hedging. However, because the partial hedge makes the employee's total wealth less sensitive to the firm's stock price, it will also undermine the incentive effects. Therefore, the presumed incentive effects of these restricted assets should not be taken for granted.

Extant research on non-financial service firms indicates that board size is a key determinant of firm performance. Property-liability (P&L) insurers, however, face a different set of agency costs and a more intense regulatory environment than most non-financial firms. Both of these factors were reinforced by the implementation of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 2000. We document a significant inverse relation between publicly traded P&L insurer performance and board size in the post-Financial Services Modernization Act period. Publicly traded P&L insurer performance, measured by market-to-book ratio, return on revenues, and the operating ratio, was enhanced for firms with smaller board sizes in 2000 and 2001. Ironically, we find that publicly traded P&L insurers on average increased board size in 2000 and 2001. In a post-Financial Services Modernization Act environment, board size appears to be related to publicly traded P&L insurer performance, but more research is necessary to develop a complete understanding of its role in P&L insurer corporate governance.

The primary aim of this chapter is to examine whether the recent increase in world oil prices has affected inflation expectations and stock market returns in major OECD countries. The key findings are as follows. First, we found no evidence to support the presence of a long term relationship between oil prices and inflation expectations – measured by the difference between yields of inflation indexed and non-inflation indexed government bonds – over the sample between early 2003 and late 2006. Second, higher oil prices are found to lead to expectations of higher inflation. This evidence is stronger over the period where oil prices had been higher and signs of capacity constraints in the economy were emerging. Third, the impact of higher oil prices on stock market returns differs among countries. While higher oil prices are found to adversely affect stock market returns in the United States, the United Kingdom and France, the effects are positive in Canada and Australia as these countries are significant exporters of energy resources.

A futures contract may rely upon physical delivery or cash settlement to liquidate open positions at the maturity date. Contract settlement specification has direct impacts on the behavior of the futures price, leading to different effects of liquidity risk on futures hedging. This chapter compares such effects under alternative settlement specifications with a simple analytical model of daily price change. Numerical simulation results demonstrate that capital constraint reduces hedging effectiveness and tends to produce a lower optimal hedge ratio. As the futures contract proceeds toward the maturity date, hedgers will take larger hedge position in order to achieve better hedging effectiveness. Finally, optimal hedge ratios are higher (resp. lower) under cash settlement for the bivariate normal (resp. lognormal) assumptions, whereas hedging effectiveness is almost always greater under cash settlement.

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Research in Finance
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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