Delegated Monitoring: The Effectiveness and Pricing of Bond Indenture Trustees
37 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2012
Date Written: February 26, 2012
To highlight the value of delegated monitoring through bond trustees, we examine the high-yield corporate bond market where default risk is high, covenants are numerous, and market values are particularly sensitive to wealth transfers. We show that bond trustees that also act as underwriters in the low-grade bond segment, but not the market’s largest trustees, reduce firms’ at-issue bond yields by 33 to 40 basis points. Accordingly, we report significantly lower bond default and downgrade risks associated with superior monitoring by these trustees. These pricing effects remain when we control for self-selection and do not hinge on whether we solely consider trustee identity or interaction terms of trustees with covenant variables that measure necessary monitoring effort. Our results can be interpreted as evidence for informational and reputational spillover effects of banks providing several services in the high-yield market segment.
Keywords: bond trustees, borrowing costs, covenants, default risk, delegated monitoring, information and reputation spillover, self-selection, skin in the game
JEL Classification: G21, G24, G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation