Life After LIBOR

with Olav Syrstad

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming 

Short summary for the SOFR academy

A previous version ("Burying LIBOR") was circulated as Norges Bank Working Paper


Abstract: We examine the alternative reference rates that are set to replace the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as benchmark rate by the end of 2021. After providing the relevant background, we show that: (i) depending on the marginal lenders, tighter regulatory constraints can either increase or decrease the alternative benchmarks; (ii) increases in the amount of government debt outstanding increase the alternative benchmarks, more so for collateralized rates; (iii) more central bank reserves lower the alternative benchmarks. In addition, we show that term rates based on the alternative reference rates are detached from banks' marginal funding costs.

Active Loan Trading

with Frank Fabozzi, Pia Mølgaard, Mads Stenbo Nielsen

Journal of Financial Intermediation, forthcoming


Abstract: Using a novel dataset of leveraged loan trades executed by managers of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), we document the importance of "active loan trades" - trades executed at a manager's discretion. More active trading increases the returns to CLO equity investors, lowers collateral portfolio default rates, and increases the manager's chances of closing a new deal. Examining the observed loan trades, we find that more active CLOs trade at better prices than less active CLOs, selling leveraged loans earlier and before they get downgraded. Our findings suggest that more active CLOs are better at anticipating deteriorations in loan credit quality.

An Explanation of Negative Swap Spreads:

Demand for Duration from Underfunded Pension Plans

with Suresh Sundaresan
Journal of Finance, Volume 72 (2) (2019), pages 675-710

Winner of the SFI outstanding paper award 2016


Abstract: The 30-year U.S. swap spreads have been negative since September 2008. We offer a novel explanation for this persistent anomaly. Through an illustrative model, we show that underfunded pension plans optimally use swaps for duration hedging. Combined with dealer banks' balance sheet constraints, this demand can drive swap spreads to become negative. Empirically, we construct a measure of the aggregate funding status of Defined Benefit pension plans and show that this measure is a significant explanatory variable of 30-year swap spreads. We find a similar link between pension funds' underfunding and swap spreads for two other regions.

Safe Haven CDS Premiums

with David Lando

Review of Financial Studies, Volume 31 (5) (2018), pages 1856-1895


Abstract: We develop a model in which a derivatives-dealing bank faces capital charges from uncollateralized swap positions with sovereigns, and buys Credit Default Swap (CDS) contracts to obtain capital relief. CDS premiums depend on margin requirements for buyers and sellers of CDS contracts, the value of capital relief for the dealer banks, and the return on a risky asset. We explain the regulatory requirements that lead derivatives dealers to buy CDS and translate volumes of derivatives contracts outstanding between sovereigns and banks into CDS hedging demand. We argue that CDS premiums for safe sovereigns are primarily driven by regulatory requirements.

Article based on my master thesis:

Option Pricing with Time-Changed Levy Processes

with Y. S. Kim, S. T. Rachev, and F. J. Fabozzi

Applied Financial Economics, 2013, 23(15) p. 1231-1238


Abstract: In this article, we introduce two new six-parameter processes based on time-changing tempered stable distributions and develop an option pricing model based on these processes. This model provides a good fit to observed option prices. To demonstrate the advantages of the new processes, we conduct two empirical studies to compare their performance to other processes that have been used in the literature.

Working Papers

Cash is not King: Evidence from the Commercial Paper Market

With Olav Syrstad and Guillaume Vuillemey


Abstract: Using new transaction-level data for non-financial commercial paper (CP) in the U.S., we show that companies systematically reduce their outstanding short-term debt on quarterly and annual disclosure dates. Constraints on CP lending supply cannot explain this patter. Instead, firms prefer repaying short-term debt over disclosing high cash holdings to signal that their cash is readily available and not trapped in foreign subsidiaries. Consistent with this interpretation, we show that firms with higher cash holdings, more sales in regions with tight capital controls, or with higher debt-equity ratios compared to industry peers reduce their short-term debt more aggressively at disclosure dates. 

Diminishing Treasury Convenience Premimums:

Effects of Dealers' Excess Demand In Auctions

With Suresh Sundaresan - New version (October 23, 2020)

Winner of the Arthur Warga Award 2019 (previous title: How Safe are Safe Havens?)


Abstract: After the global financial crisis, the yields of U.S. Treasury bills frequently exceed other risk-free rate benchmarks, thereby pointing to a diminishing convenience premium. Moreover, moderate increases in market uncertainty, as measured by VIX, increase Treasury yields instead of triggering a flight to safety. We show that the falling excess demand of primary dealers in Treasury auctions and their increased balance sheet constraints post-crisis, are the key variables in explaining these patterns. Even after accounting for Treasury supply, levels of interest rates, and other controls, primary dealers' excess demand is the main driver of Treasury yields and spreads.

High Funding Risk, Low Return

New Version (June 4, 2020)


Abstract: Guided by a simple model in which hedge fund managers with access to less-profitable investment strategies take more funding risk, I show that funds with a high exposure to market-wide funding shocks - measured by changes in LIBOR-OIS spreads - subsequently underperform funds with a low exposure to market-wide funding shocks by 5.76% annually on a risk-adjusted basis (t=4.04). In line with my theory, the performance difference between low-funding-risk and high-funding-risk funds is largest and most significant when funding constraints are most binding and for funds with higher unwinding costs.

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