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Lieven Hermans

27 June 2016
This paper first highlights the structural features of shadow banking in the euro area, focussing on investment funds. It then discusses the potential systemic risks that the recent expansion of the investment fund sector presents. While investment funds provide important intermediation services to the real sector, including market and liquidity risk-sharing and the bridging of information gaps, their rapid expansion may present systemic risks that need to be detected, monitored and managed. In particular, the risk of fund outflows and the possible negative impacts on the wider financial system have risen due to the rapid expansion of the investment fund sector, its growing involvement in capital markets, its use of synthetic leverage, and the inherent and growing maturity and liquidity mismatch arising from the demandable nature of fund share investments. While available data suggest that vulnerabilities within the investment fund sector are growing and links to the wider financial system and real economy have strengthened, data limitations prevent drawing a definitive conclusion on the sectors' contribution to systemic risk.
JEL Code
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General
G23 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Non-bank Financial Institutions, Financial Instruments, Institutional Investors
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
29 November 2017
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2017
The reduction in asset price volatility in recent years has taken place in tandem with investors lowering the premia required for lower-rated assets. The current favourable market sentiment could however change abruptly if, for instance, investors were to reassess the outlook for growth or monetary policy. Potential surges in asset price volatility could be amplified by: (i) investors selling off assets perceived as overvalued; (ii) the high levels of corporate leverage; and/or (iii) a rapid unwinding of market positions that benefit from low volatility. Low volatility in financial markets is therefore being closely monitored by financial stability authorities, as it may mask an underpricing of risks and a build-up of financial imbalances.
JEL Code
G00 : Financial Economics→General→General
25 May 2020
Financial Stability Review Issue 1, 2020
Low financial market volatility in the years prior to the coronavirus outbreak increased the popularity of investment strategies based on targeting volatility. Low volatility across major asset classes and regions had been a key feature of global asset price developments until recently. Investments following strategies which are reliant on low market volatility have grown over recent years, with varying estimates. Globally, there may be funds with assets under management worth up to USD 2 trillion invested in some form of volatility strategies , with USD 300 billion invested in some 300 risk parity funds, a well-known hedge fund strategy for multi-asset funds. Additional leverage deployed in these funds raises their market-moving capacity.