Broad-based equity markets have been on a rollercoaster ride since Jan. 30, 2018, as market participants appear to be reassessing the impact of inflation and potential consequences from the recent tax reform. While volatility appears to be back, high-grade corporate bond spreads have tightened to levels not seen since 2007. Compared with the last episode of substantive volatility in equities, there is a noticeable difference in how credit markets are reacting (see Exhibit 1).
The emergence of ethical and sustainable concerns and the need for environmental investing has come with a wide range of options for fixed income market participants to navigate. One approach has been to rely on evaluation metrics, or ratings that measure the environmental and social impact of companies’ operations. The main challenge of this approach is that currently there is no clear standard of measurement in the market. Researchers at MIT working on the Aggregate Confusion Project found that when they compared “two of the top five ESG rating agencies and compute the rank correlation across firms in a particular year, we are likely to obtain a correlation of the order of 10 to 15 percent. At least the correlation is positive! It is very likely (about 5 to 10 percent of the firms) that the firm that is in the top 5 percent for one rating agency belongs to the bottom 20 percent for the other.”
Consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors is becoming a key feature of bond pricing and credit-risk assessment – slowly.
Once the sole purview of investors, such consideration is earning a place on the agenda of credit ratings agencies globally. Given the weight ratings agencies carry in fixed-income markets, their heightened interest can give added impetus for ESG investment in different corners of the world, particularly where support for it is weak or where progress has recently stalled. The potential for positive impact is huge, given that global bonds – the largest asset class in capital markets – total nearly $88 trillion, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association data shows.
wenty banking giants have agreed to support the scandal-hit benchmark the London interbank offered rate (Libor) until an alternative is found in 2021 so that the transition doesn’t rattle markets.
Businesses are showing increasing interest in using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inform and enhance their social and environmental programs and ultimately their business strategies. The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and include 17 ambitious goals and 169 targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all.
BNP Paribas SA will cease funding and advising tobacco companies as the French lender seeks to distance itself from the industry over health concerns.
Eight years since the birth of bitcoin, central banks around the world are increasingly recognizing the potential upsides and downsides of digital currencies.
The guardians of the global economy have two sets of issues to address. First is what to do, if anything, about emergence and growth of the private cryptocurrencies that are grabbing more and more attention — with bitcoin now surging toward $10,000. The second question is whether to issue official versions.
European bond traders are looking on the bright side of tougher transparency rules — unprecedented market data that can help them make sure they’re not getting ripped off. New regulations will require details on many transactions to be published within 15 minutes, and sometimes before the trade has gone through, previously unheard of in the traditionally opaque bond market. Some dealers and investors are starting to plan how they will capture and analyze the data to help them work out fair values for trades.“Everyone should be analyzing and using the data to better understand the market,” said Mehmet Mazi, HSBC Holdings Plc’s global head of credit trading, and a speaker at this week’s Fixed Income Leaders Summit in Amsterdam. “Firms who do this smarter will have an edge.”Traders are welcoming the influx of data even though it risks making their jobs harder by potentially exposing their intentions to other parties in the predominantly over-the-counter market. Read more
Derivatives markets have grown markedly in Asia-Pacific in the past decade, with Hong Kong and Singapore now pre-eminent in regional trading of FX and interest rate derivatives (IRD). Total IRD daily average turnover in Asia-Pacific markets increased to $298.3 billion (US dollars unless otherwise specified) in April 2016 from $187.4 billion in April 2007, while the equivalent figure in FX increased to $1.7 trillion from $1 trillion.
This rate of growth has outstripped that of global derivatives markets. Between 2007 and 2016, IRD turnover in Asia-Pacific markets grew at 5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while FX turnover grew at 6%. Global IRD and FX turnover grew at 4% and 5% CAGR, respectively, over the same period.
As the debate over the SEC rule 22e-4 continues, one fact remains constant: for mutual fund managers and ETF sponsors, prudent liquidity risk management practices are critical to fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility. Whether the rule is altered or delayed, firms will ultimately need to revisit these practices and their compliance programs. Compliance requires robust data and valuation coverage as well as a strong multi-asset class risk framework and reporting capabilities.
Join Carlo Acerbi, Managing Director of Risk and Regulation Research at MSCI, and Dan Huscher, Executive Director of Fixed Income Pricing Product Development at IHS Markit, who will discuss how the latest industry developments may impact the implementation of SEC rule 22e-4 and the role data and analytics play in establishing a liquidity risk management program.
- Practical Guidance for Establishing a Liquidity Risk Management Program
- IHS Markit’s Approach to Gathering Data on Thinly-traded Instruments
- Overview of MSCI LiquidityMetrics Multi-asset Class Liquidity Risk Management Framework
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U.S. corporations continue to take advantage of the accommodative conditions created by a protracted period of low interest rates and strong market participant demand. As of Oct. 1, 2017, U.S. investment-grade corporate debt issuance surpassed USD 1 trillion—three weeks ahead of 2016’s pace. Additionally, the amount of speculative-grade corporate debt issued through the first three quarters of 2017 is 17% higher than it was after the first three quarters of 2016. Combined, U.S. corporate issuance is on pace for another record year, which would mark the sixth consecutive year of increased corporate debt issuance (see Exhibits 1 and 2).
China adopted its first corporate governance code in 2001, ahead of many APAC peers, with updates in 2011 and 2016. As China’s market becomes more accessible to global investors, corporate governance practices will likely face increased comparison to global standards. Our report references MSCI ESG Research’s rich corporate governance data to examine the opportunities and risks to minority shareholders presented by current corporate governance practices in the MSCI China Index.
|Challenges in FRTB Implementation|
High skew levels indicate heightened fears of “tail risk” – the chances of unlikely but highly consequential events that could sink share prices. Low market volatility largely continued through the summer, but how has options skew behaved – has it fallen to more “normal” levels? Do institutional investors appear to be dropping or keeping their downside protection?