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Dynamic monitoring of financial intermediaries with subordinated debt

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Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to show that subordinated debt regulatory proposals assume that transactions in the secondary market of subordinated debt can attenuate moral hazard on the part of management if secondary market prices are informative signals of the risk of the institution. Owing to the proprietary nature of dealer prices and the liquidity of secondary transactions, the practical value of information provided by subordinated debt issues in isolation is questionable. Design/methodology/approach ? A multivariate dynamic risk signal is proposed that combines fluctuations in equity prices, subordinated debt and senior debt yields. The signal is constructed as a coincident indicator that is based in a time series model of yield fluctuations and equity returns. The extracted signal monitors idiosyncratic risk of the intermediary because yields and equity returns are filtered from market conditions. It is also predictable because it is possible to construct a leading indicator based almost entirely on spreads to Treasury. Findings ? The signal for the Bank of America and Banker's Trust is implemented. For Bank of America, the signal points mainly to two events of uprising risk: January 2000 when the bank disclosed large losses in its bond and interest-rate swaps portfolios; and November 2000 when it wrote off $1.1 billion for bad loans. For Banker's Trust, the signal points to October/November 1995 after the filing of federal racketeering charges against Banker's Trust; and October 1998 when the bank suffered substantial losses from its investments in emerging markets. Originality/value ? The signal is a complementary instrument for regulators and investors to monitor and assess in real time the risk profile of the financial institution.

Keywords: Autoregressive processes; Signal processing; Vectors

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2006

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