Segmented Arbitrage

51 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2021

See all articles by Emil Siriwardane

Emil Siriwardane

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Aditya Sunderam

Harvard University

Jonathan Wallen

Harvard Business School

Date Written: November 10, 2021

Abstract

We use arbitrage activity in equity, fixed income, and foreign exchange markets to characterize the frictions and constraints facing intermediaries. The average pairwise correlation between the twenty-nine arbitrage spreads that we study is 22%. These low correlations are inconsistent with models in which an integrated intermediary sector faces a single constraint and sets all prices. We show that at least two types of segmentation drive arbitrage dynamics. First, funding is segmented --- certain trades rely on specific funding sources so arbitrage spreads are sensitive to localized funding shocks. Second, balance sheets are segmented --- intermediaries specialize in certain arbitrages so arbitrage spreads are sensitive to idiosyncratic balance sheet shocks. Our results suggest specialization on both the asset and liability sides of intermediary balance sheets is important for understanding their role in capital markets.

Keywords: arbitrage; segmentation; intermediary-based asset pricing

JEL Classification: G12, G2

Suggested Citation

Siriwardane, Emil and Sunderam, Aditya and Wallen, Jonathan, Segmented Arbitrage (November 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3960980 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3960980

Emil Siriwardane (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Aditya Sunderam

Harvard University ( email )

Jonathan Wallen

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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