"A Multivariate Model of Strategic Asset Allocation with Longevity Risk" (with E. Bisetti, C.A. Favero and C. Tebaldi). Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming [Abstract] [Paper] [Appendix]
Population-wide increase in life expectancy is a source of aggregate risk. Longevity-linked securities are a natural instrument to reallocate it. This paper extends the standard Campbell and Viceira (2005) strategic asset allocation model by including a longevity-linked investment possibility. Model estimation, based on prices for standardized annuities publicly offered by United States insurance companies, shows that aggregate shocks to survival probabilities are predictors for long-term returns of the longevity-linked securities, and reveals an unexpected predictability pattern. Valuation of longevity risk premium confirms that longevity-linked securities offer inexpensive funding opportunities to asset managers.
Using data on more than 5,000 mutual funds domiciled in four European countries in 2006, we investigate whether distribution costs embedded into the expense ratio can be held responsible for the differences of expense ratios of mutual funds in different countries. We confirm the existence of relevant country effects in the pricing of mutual fund management services. Comparing load and no-load funds and using survey data on fee retrocession to the distribution channel, we provide evidence that these effects are heavily influenced by the cost of the distribution embedded in the expense ratio.
We use cross-country data on a sample of large European banks to evaluate the impact of government ownership on bank risk. We distinguish between default risk (likelihood of creditors' losses) and operating risk (likelihood of negative equity). Our analysis is based on the joint use of issuer ratings, a synthetic measure of a bank's probability of default, and individual ratings, which omit the influence of any external support and focus on a bank's operating risk. We report two main results. First, government-owned banks (GOBs) have lower default risk but higher operating risk than private banks, indicating the presence of governmental protection that induces higher risk taking. Second, GOBs' operating risk and governmental protection tend to increase in election years. These results are consistent with the idea that GOBs pursue political goals and have important policy implications for recently nationalized European banks.
We investigate how the credit cycle affects the link between bond spreads and credit ratings. Using a simple model of the credit assessment process, we show that when the debt market is more opaque, the information content of ratings deteriorates, creating an incentive for investors to increase the amount spent on private information. We test this hypothesis empirically. Results show that when market opaqueness (proxied by the spread between Aaa- and Baa-rated bonds) increases, the explanatory power of ratings and other control variables deteriorates as investors increasingly price in non-public information.
"Ownership Structure, Risk and Performance in the European Banking Industry" (with G. Iannotta and A. Sironi). Journal of Banking and Finance, 31(7): 2127-2149, 2007 [Abstract] [Paper] [Link to article]
We compare the performance and risk of a sample of 181 large banks from 15 European countries over the 1999-2004 period and evaluate the impact of alternative ownership models, together with the degree of ownership concentration, on their profitability, cost efficiency and risk. Three main results emerge. First, after controlling for bank characteristics, country and time effects, mutual banks and government-owned banks exhibit a lower profitability than privately-owned banks, in spite of their lower costs. Second, public sector banks have poorer loan quality and higher insolvency risk than other types of banks while mutual banks have better loan quality and lower asset risk than both private and public sector banks. Finally, while ownership concentration does not significantly affect a bank's profitability, a higher ownership concentration is associated with better loan quality, lower asset risk and lower insolvency risk. These differences, along with differences in asset composition and funding mix, indicate a different financial intermediation model for the different ownership forms.
Focusing on the art market, where auction houses act as brokers between art sellers and buyers, we investigate whether more experienced brokers achieve better performance as information providers. We use a unique data set of auctions of Italian paintings in various houses around the world, and we measure experience as the number of times an auctioneer has auctioned the artworks of a certain artist in a given location. We find that more experienced auction houses (i) are more likely to sell and (ii) provide more precise pre-sale estimates. These findings suggest that experience plays an important role for brokers to reduce inefficiencies, such as illiquidity and opacity, associated to markets with asymmetric information.
Supranational institutions, academics and market analysts have increasingly questioned the reliability of bank risk-weighted assets (RWAs), a cornerstone of the system of minimum capital ratios designed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. In fact, significant differences can be found in the banks’ average risk weights, both over time and across countries. Such differences can be explained by several factors, some of which may reflect the actual risk content of bank’s assets, while others may conceal distortions due to “RWA tweaking” and supervisory segmentations. We analyze a sample of 50 large European banks between 2008 and 2012 and document several meaningful findings. First, risk weights are affected by the banks’ size, business model and asset mix. Second, the adoption of internal ratings based (IRB) approaches is (as expected) a powerful driver of bank risk-weighted assets. Third, lower risk weights are positively linked to the banks’ capital cushion. Fourth, IRB adoption is more widespread in countries where supervisory capture is potentially stronger, due to a banking industry that is both larger (compared to GDP) and concentrated. Fifth, regulatory risk weights are not disconnected from market-based measures of bank risk.
Work in Progress
"Performance Evaluation of European Insurance Companies: A Comparison of Robust MCDA Approaches" (with M. Doumpos, E. Galariotis, and C. Zopounidis)
"The Investment Management Structure and Financial Performance in Delegated Investment Vehicles: Evidence from the Italian Closed Pension Funds" (with M. Cardinale and L. Spotorno)
"Collective Supply Chain Responsibility: The Effect of Suppliers' CSR Behaviour on Shareholder Value" (temporary) (with M. Giannakis)
"Covered Bonds, Asset Encumbrance and Risk: Evidence from the European Banking Industry" (temporary) (with E. Garcia-Appendini and S. Gatti)
"Are Risk Based Capital Requirements Detrimental to Corporate Lending? Evidence from Europe" (temporary) (with B. Bruno and A. Resti)