I am an economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in the Division of Financial Stability. My research interests lie in macrofinance, asset pricing, and financial intermediation.
I received my Ph.D. in financial economics from the Yale School of Management. Previously, I worked as an economist at Morgan Stanley and at the Yale Program on Financial Stability. I also worked as an intern at the IMF and the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.
The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Board or its staff.
The Collateral Premium and Levered Safe-Asset Production
2020 BlackRock Applied Research Award Finalist
Banks are vital suppliers of money-like safe assets: banks produce safe assets by issuing short-term liabilities and pledging collateral. But their ability to create safe assets varies over time as leverage constraints fluctuate. I present a model to describe private safe-asset production when intermediaries face leverage constraints. I measure bank leverage constraints using bank-intermediated basis trades. The collateral premium — a strategy long Treasuries used more often as repo collateral and short Treasuries used less often — has a positive expected return of 65 basis points per year because the collateral premium compensates for bank leverage risk.
Capital in the Financial Crisis
with Timothy F. Geithner and Andrew Metrick, October 2020
Why was the financial system stabilized with so little additional capital and very little additional public capital by mid-2009 despite substantial loss estimates? In early 2009, mark-to-market losses implied $800 billion of credit losses remaining, and consensus estimates stood at $340 billion. But the stress test in May 2009 required banks to raise only an incremental $75 billion of capital. Why? First, credit losses are not equivalent to capital needs because banks that remain a going concern can offset losses with revenues. Second, net income and actuarial loss estimates — rather than market-implied losses — were the proper basis for the stress test estimates of capital needs. Finally, the expected path of the economy improved with the macroeconomic policy actions. Covid-19 presents the first significant test of the reforms to bank capital and the structure of the U.S. financial system. Policymakers in some countries will confront similar choices and trade-offs to restore confidence in the financial system’s capital position as they face the second systemic financial crisis in little over a decade. They will undoubtedly see parallels with the 2009 experience.
Investor Information and Bank Instability During the Euro Crisis
with Silvia Iorgova, January 2021
[Abstract] [PDF] [IMF WP #2021/005]
Outside of financial crises, investors have little incentive to produce private information on banks’ short-term liabilities held as information-insensitive safe assets. The same does not hold during crises. We measure daily information production using credit default swap spreads during the global financial crisis and the subsequent European debt crisis. We study abnormal information production around major events and interventions during these crises and find that, on average, capital injections reduced abnormal information production while early European stress tests increased it. We also link information production to outcomes: high levels of information production predict bank balance sheet contraction and higher government expenditures to support financial institutions. In an addendum, we show information production on non-financials dramatically increased relative to financials at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, reflecting the non-financial nature of the initial shock.
[Abstract] [PDF] [SSRN]
Post-crisis reforms changed the location of safe-asset production. I propose a pair of tests to identify who issues safe assets and which safe-asset issuers opportunistically time issuance when the price of safe assets is high. The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system is a newly crucial safe-asset producer. FHLB debt issuance is an important determinant of the price of safe assets, and FHLB debt issuance responds to day-to-day fluctuations in safe-asset demand — measured via the convenience yield. FHLBs issue more after an unexpected increase in the convenience yield, and an unexpectedly large FHLB issue decreases the convenience yield. The FHLBs’ ability to produce safe assets depends on their implicit government backing, a potential source of concern for future policymakers.
Pricing With Almost-Arbitrages
with Sharon Y. Ross, December 2019
We calculate realistic returns to more than 120 collateralized, bank-intermediated arbitrage identities to proxy for daily changes in intermediaries’ marginal value of wealth. Increased leverage constraints mean intermediaries delever, and arbitrage returns grow. Large arbitrage returns correspond to high marginal values of intermediaries’ wealth. We show how the marginal investor changes over time.
Cash-Hedged Stock Returns
with Landon J. Ross and Sharon Y. Ross, February 2020
U.S. companies hold cash on their balance sheets, and the share of assets held in cash varies across companies and over time. A firm’s cash holding is an implicit position in a low-return asset, which pushes down a firm’s common stock return, and investors should thus hedge out the cash on the balance sheets when calculating equity returns. Failing to do so has implications for portfolio formation and optimization, asset pricing models, and trading strategy performance.
Who Ran on Repo?
with Gary B. Gorton and Andrew Metrick
AEA Papers and Proceedings (2020)
[Abstract] [PDF] [Link]
The sale and repurchase (repo) market played a central role in the recent financial crisis. From the second quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, net repo financing provided to U.S. banks and broker-dealers fell by about $900 billion—more than half of its pre-crisis total. Significant details of this “run on repo” remain shrouded because many of the providers of repo finance are lightly regulated or unregulated cash pools. In this paper, we supplement the best available official data sources with a unique market survey and data from the footnotes of public companies’ quarterly filings to provide an updated picture of the dynamics of the repo run. We provide evidence that the flight of foreign financial institutions, domestic and offshore hedge funds, and other unregulated cash pools predominantly drove the run. Our analysis highlights the danger of relying exclusively on data from regulated institutions, which would miss the most important parts of the run.
© Chase P. Ross 2021 ⁂ All Rights Reserved