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(2021) Li, XunThesisThe aim of this thesis is to utilise transnational regulatory network (TRN) theory to examine the effectiveness of the regulatory framework promulgated by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) — to address the activities of transnational hedge funds. Scholarship employing TRN theory has not previously accounted for the distinctive role that IOSCO — a body well-described as a TRN — has played in developing hedge fund regulation to prevent, identify and mitigate systemic risk related to transnational hedge funds. It is a gap that this thesis attempts to fill. This thesis asks whether and in what ways the IOSCO framework contributes to systemic risk mitigation in relation to transnational hedge funds operating at the global level. It does so to help academics and policymakers to better understand and appreciate the value, and overcome the limitations of IOSCO in this respect. Using the case studies of the failure of Long-Term Capital Management at the end of the 20th century and the demise of Bear Stearns’ hedge funds during the global financial crisis, it argues that it is the systemic hazards posed by hedge funds that make them merit extra regulation at both national and transnational levels. Deploying the findings of the TRN theory, it further demonstrates that the IOSCO framework for transnational hedge fund regulation holds not only advantages to be maintained but also shortcomings to be overcome in addressing these systemic hazards. The significance of this study lies in its contribution to advancing comprehension of the global regulatory framework for transnational hedge funds. It makes the advance by introducing a focus on systemic risk mitigation, hitherto lacking, and developing a critical, doctrinal understanding of the relatively understudied rules and standards under IOSCO.
(2021) Cai, LinThesisThis thesis consists of three chapters that investigate the linkage between uncertainty and corporate investment decisions on an international basis. In first chapter, I investigate the extent of U.S. policy-related spillovers into 22 other real economies. I find that, after accounting for factors previously used to explain corporate investment, US Economic Policy Uncertainty (US EPU, hereafter) fluctuations affect foreign corporate investments through two channels. First, the single effect of US EPU on international corporate investment shows an unequivocal negative relation (the direct channel). Second, an increase in US EPU also attenuates the negative sensitivity of corporate investment towards the cost of capital (the indirect channel). Further, I find that while the direct channel of US EPU on corporate investment persists across several subsamples, its indirect channel relates to a high degree of dependence on the U.S. economy and opacity exhibited by local economies. The second chapter reconciles the contrary views on the foreign investors using local disaster shocks from 46 countries over the period 1998-2018. I find that local disaster shocks cause significant disruptions to corporate investments, but foreign institutional investors attenuate the costs of disaster risks. The benefits associated with foreign institutional investors are not uniformly held across all economies, where the role of foreign institutional investors is particularly measurable in countries with well-developed institutional environment. The third chapter focuses on the uncertainty at domestic level using national elections across 23 different countries. I find that the corporate investment cycle corresponds with the timing of national elections, but there is a cross-sectional difference in the firm-level investment sensitivity to elections. During election periods, while firms temporarily reduce investment expenditures relative to nonelection years, the decline is mainly sourced from firms with greater political exposures. Further, I find that the investment cycles are more volatile when the election outcomes are uncertain, and the institutional environments are weaker.
(2022) Dienemann, FabianThesisThis dissertation consists of three essays on asset pricing and market microstructure topics within the U.S. corporate bond market. The first essay investigates asymmetry in price pressure between customer buy and sell orders and demonstrates that it is a valuable measure of downside liquidity for corporate bonds. While evidence of a characteristic premium for illiquidity in the cross-section of corporate bonds is mixed, aggregate liquidity asymmetry has high explanatory power for the time series of market returns. Its statistical and economic significance justify it as a credible asset pricing factor. Average market-wide liquidity asymmetry comoves with interest rate and credit spread changes, investor sentiment, funding liquidity, dealer inventory, exchange-traded fund flows, and post-crisis regulatory change. The second essay documents the properties of market-wide corporate bond liquidity and demonstrates that liquidity risk is an important determinant of returns. In market downturns, transaction costs rise for sellers and fall for buyers. The negative relation between buyer and seller liquidity motivates a new across-measure liquidity factor that incorporates an asymmetric liquidity component. Shocks to market-wide liquidity explain a large portion of bond return variation in the time series. Primarily driven by the asymmetric component, the liquidity factor attracts a cross-sectional risk premium that is robust to controls for credit, equity, and interest rate factors, as well as the illiquidity level. The third essay provides new evidence of retail investors’ ability to predict returns based on transactions in U.S. corporate bonds with equity-like risk. Retail order flow is persistent and contrarian, and it predicts future returns in the cross-section. The profits of an equal-weighted, long-short strategy that buys (sells) bonds that experience high (low) net retail buying are economically meaningful. The alpha based on decile portfolios is significant at the 10% level when controlling for common equity and bond risk factors. However, due to high transaction costs and because retail purchase volume is concentrated in underperforming bonds, retail traders lose money in aggregate.
(2023) Wang, HaoxuThesisMy thesis consists of three essays. My first essay is on relative strength anomalies. After long being one of the main puzzles in asset pricing, momentum has ironically become a case of observational equivalence. It can now be explained both by behavioral factors capturing mispricing and by the neoclassical-inspired investment q-factors. Besides, q-factors explain the related 52-week-high anomaly. We note that recent tests subsuming both anomalies are unconditional exercises while the bulk of momentum profits are predictable and occur in bull markets and after periods of low volatility. Comparing asset pricing models conditionally, we find the unconditional fit is misleading. The models fit well most of the time but not when the profits are produced. Noticeably, q-theory implies time-varying loadings that are not consistent with the data. On the other hand, consistent with an underreaction channel, earnings announcement returns and analyst forecast errors both decrease steeply with lagged volatility. My second essay is on portfolio optimization. We comprehensively examine whether advances in the asset-pricing and covariance matrix literatures can jointly improve the out-of-sample (OOS) performance of mean-variance efficient (MVE) portfolios. Focusing on the 500 largest stocks, we find that, after accounting for transaction costs, MVE portfolios formed using improved inputs do not outperform the passive strategy. However, their after-cost performance can be substantially improved by combining several ideas available in the literature. Portfolios that simultaneously target risk, manage transaction costs, correct the covariance matrix for OOS errors, and use simple linear Fama-MacBeth return forecasts attain net Sharpe ratios greater than one, significantly outperforming the passive portfolio. My third essay is on factor momentum. Factor momentum recently joined the ongoing debate over the causes of stock momentum. We find that neither momentum in “off-the-shelf” factors nor momentum in high-eigenvalue principal component factors can explain any previously proposed momentum driver. Also, compared to previous drivers, factor momentum does not exhibit superior performance in capturing momentum-like anomalies. Like the competing models, it cannot explain stock momentum conditionally. Moreover, it cannot explain stock momentum after accounting for transaction costs while these can explain the persistence of factor momentum, especially in less systematic factors.