Use of Credit Default Swaps by UCITS Funds: Evidence from EU Regulatory Data
42 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2020
Date Written: June, 2019
Using a sample of more than 18,000 Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities,or UCITS, this paper aims to provide a first overview of the use of credit default swaps by EU UCITSfunds. We show that UCITS funds only account for a small share of the overall EU credit derivativesmarket. The CDS market is highly concentrated, with thirteen large dealers acting as counterparty to thevast majority of CDS transactions that involve UCITS funds. The use of CDS by UCITS is mainlyconcentrated in fixed-income funds and funds that rely on so-called alternative strategies. Funds that useCDS tend to be much larger on average. The analysis also reveals three salient features in the UCITSfunds’ use of CDS. Firstly, funds with directional strategies, such as fixed-income and allocation funds (ormixed funds), are on aggregate net sellers of CDS. Secondly, a large majority of CDS underlyings areindices, from which funds can gain exposure to multiple entities at once within one sector or region.Lastly, most sovereign single-name CDS are written on emerging market issuers, highlighting the rolethat these instruments can play in facilitating access to less liquid markets.
Keywords: credit default swaps, derivatives, investment funds, synthetic leverage
JEL Classification: F30, G10, G15, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation