Risk Mitigating versus Risk Shifting: Evidence from Banks Security Trading in Crises

60 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2020 Last revised: 3 Dec 2020

See all articles by José-Luis Peydró

José-Luis Peydró

Imperial College London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Andrea Polo

Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Economics and Finance; Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF); Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Enrico Sette

Bank of Italy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 18, 2020

Abstract

We show that risk mitigating incentives dominate risk shifting incentives in fragile banks. Risk shifting could be particularly severe in banking since it is the most opaque industry and banks are one of the most leveraged corporations with very low skin in the game. To analyze this question, we exploit security trading by banks during financial crises, as banks can easily and quickly change their risk exposure within their security portfolio. However, in contrast with the risk shifting hypothesis, we find that less capitalized banks take relatively less risk after financial market stress shocks. We show this using the supervisory ISIN-bank-month level dataset from Italy with all securities for each bank. Our results are over and above capital regulation as we show lower reach-for-yield effects by less capitalized banks within government bonds (with zero risk weights) or within securities with the same rating and maturity in the same month (which determines regulatory capital). Effects are robust to controlling for the covariance with the existence portfolio, and less capitalized banks, if anything, reduce concentration risk. Further, effects are stronger when uncertainty is higher, despite that risk shifting motives may be then higher. Moreover, three separate tests – based on different accounting portfolios (trading book versus held to maturity), the distribution of capital and franchise value – suggest that bank own incentives, instead of supervision, are the main drivers. Results are confirmed if we consider other sources of balance sheet fragility and different measures of risk-taking. Finally, evidence from the recent COVID-19 shock corroborates findings from the Global Financial Crisis and the Euro Area Sovereign Crisis.

Keywords: risk shifting, financial crises, securities, bank capital, interbank funding, concentration risk, uncertainty, risk weights, available for sale, held to maturity, trading book, COVID-19

JEL Classification: G01, G21, G28

Suggested Citation

Peydro, Jose-Luis and Polo, Andrea and Sette, Enrico, Risk Mitigating versus Risk Shifting: Evidence from Banks Security Trading in Crises (November 18, 2020). European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper 713/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3732831 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3732831

Jose-Luis Peydro

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain
(+34) 93 542 1756 (Phone)
(+34) 93 542 1746 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/joseluispeydroswebpage/

Andrea Polo (Contact Author)

Luiss Guido Carli University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Via Kennedy 6
Parma, 43100 - I
Italy

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Due Macelli, 73
Rome, 00187
Italy

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Enrico Sette

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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