Market Transparency and the Marking Precision of Bond Mutual Fund Managers
29 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 3, 2013
We analyze the dispersion of month-end prices simultaneously placed on identical corporate bonds by different US mutual fund managers before and after initiations of TRACE and introductions of issuers into Markit’s CDS database. Disseminated bonds show large and statistically significant decreases in mark dispersion around three key TRACE system rollout events, including important spillover effects for non-disseminated bonds. Dispersion for large, investment grade bonds fell 20% to 83% after the start of TRACE reporting. A difference-in-differences regression analysis of the two-stage rollout of BBB-rated bonds provides clearer evidence suggesting that TRACE led to a decrease in mark dispersion for all bonds via a matrix pricing channel in addition to any direct dissemination impact. TRACE-associated improvement in bond valuation precision provides indirect support for Bessembinder, Maxwell, and Venkataraman’s (2006) information-based channel relating transparency and pricing. During the pre-TRACE period, we also find some evidence that mark dispersion fell for investment grade issuers after introductions into Markit’s database.
Keywords: TRACE, CDS, bonds, transparency, marks
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation