Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

Low Interest Rates and Business Investments : Update August 2017

 

From  Explaining Low Investment Spending

USINVEST

globalinvest

 

Please see my earlier posts.

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

The Decline in Long Term Real Interest Rates

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

Low Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness

Low Interest Rates and Banks’ Profitability : Update July 2017

Low Interest Rates and Banks Profitability: Update – December 2016

 

Since my earlier posts on this subject there has been several new studies published highlighting weakness in business investments as one of the cause of slower economic growth and lower interest rates.

Other significant factors impacting interest rates are demographic changes, and slower economic growth.

I argue that there is mutual (circular) causality in weak business investment, slower economic growth, and lower interest rates which reinforce each other.

 

Decreased competition, increased concentration, corporate savings glut, share buybacks, paying dividends are also identified as factors.

Number of public companies have decreased significantly in USA since 1996 due to M&A activity.   See the data below.

Increased Mergers/Acquisitions, Increased Concentration, Decreased Competition, Decreased Number of Public Companies, Share buybacks, and Dividend Payouts are multiple perspectives of same problem.

 

From The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks

The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

USNUMUSSTAT

 

Key sources of Research:

The Low Level of Global Real Interest Rates

Remarks by
Stanley Fischer
Vice Chairman
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

at the
Conference to Celebrate Arminio Fraga’s 60 Years
Casa das Garcas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

July 31, 2017

The Low Level of Global Real Interest Rates

 

 

INVESTMENT-LESS GROWTH: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION

German Gutierrez Thomas Philippon

Working Paper 22897

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

December 2016

 

INVESTMENT-LESS GROWTH: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION

 

 

Explaining Low Investment Spending

The NBER Digest
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

February 2017

Explaining Low Investment Spending

 

 

The Secular Stagnation of Investment?

Callum Jones and Thomas Philippon

December 2016

 

The Secular Stagnation of Investment?

 

 

Is there an investment gap in advanced economies? If so, why?

By Robin Dottling, German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

 

Is there an investment gap in advanced economies? If so, why?

 

 

The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009

JOHN G. FERNALD ROBERT E. HALL

JAMES H. STOCK MARK W. WATSON

May 2, 2017

The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009

 

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S.

German Gutierrez and Thomas Philippon

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

July 2017

 

Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S

 

 

Real Interest Rates Over the Long Run : Decline and convergence since the 1980s

Kei-Mu Yi   Jing Zhang

ECONOMIC POLICY PAPER 16-10 SEPTEMBER 2016

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of MINNEAPOLIS

Real Interest Rates over the Long Run Decline and convergence since the 1980s, due significantly to factors causing lower investment demand

 

 

Understanding global trends in long-run real interest rates

Kei-Mu Yi and Jing Zhang

Economic Perspectives, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2017
Chicago Fed Reserve Bank

 

Understanding Global Trends in Long-run Real Interest Rates

 

 

Weakness in Investment Growth: Causes, Implications and Policy Responses

CAMA Working Paper 19/2017 March 2017

M. Ayhan Kose

Franziska Ohnsorge

Lei Sandy Ye

Ergys Islamaj

 

Weakness in Investment Growth: Causes, Implications and Policy Responses

 

 

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

Gustavo Grullon, Yelena Larkin and Roni Michaely

October 2016

 

Are US Industries Becoming More Concentrated?

 

 

Why Is Global Business Investment So Weak? Some Insights from Advanced Economies

 

Robert Fay, Justin-Damien Guénette, Martin Leduc and Louis Morel,

International Economic Analysis Department

Bank of Canada Review Spring 2017

 

Why Is Global Business Investment So Weak? Some Insights from Advanced Economies

 

 

What Is Behind the Weakness in Global Investment?

by Maxime Leboeuf and Bob Fay

2016

Bank of Canada

 

What Is Behind the Weakness in Global Investment?

 A Structural Interpretation of the Recent Weakness in Business Investment

by Russell Barnett and Rhys Mendes

 The Corporate Saving Glut in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis

 

Gruber, Joseph W., and Steven B. Kamin

International Finance Discussion Papers
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Number 1150 October 2015

 

The Corporate Saving Glut in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis

 

 

The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks

The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

March 22, 2017

GLOBAL FINANCIAL STRATEGIES

http://www.credit-suisse.com

 

The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks The Causes and Consequences of Fewer U.S. Equities

 

 

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

Jordan Brennan

2017 February 19

They Just Get Bigger: How Corporate Mergers Strangle the Economy

 

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

Jordan Brennan

March 2016

 

Rising Corporate Concentration, Declining Trade Union Power, and the Growing Income Gap: American Prosperity in Historical Perspective

Low Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness

Low Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness

 

World economy is stuck in low interest rates environment.   Euro area, japan have even negative interest rates.  US Fed Reserve since December 2016 has started raising interest rates.

Attempts by Central Banks have not been effective in increasing economic growth.  Many Economists now are presenting counter intuitive reasons for low growth.

 

Please see my earlier related posts.

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

 

Since 2016, there are several new studies published exploring effectiveness of monetary policy in low interest rates environment.

 

Is monetary policy less effective when interest rates are persistently low?

by Claudio Borio and Boris Hofmann

April 2017

Is Monetary Policy Less Effective When Interest Rates are Persistently Low?

 

In March 2017, Brookings Institution published the following study by the economists of the US Federal Reserve.

Monetary policy in a low interest rate world

 

Fed Reserve of Chicago published speech given by Charles Evans in 2016.

Monetary Policy in a Lower Interest Rate Environment

 

Lecture by Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the ECB, Macroeconomics Symposium at Utrecht School of Economics, 15 June 2016

The challenge of low real interest rates for monetary policy

 

Journal of Policy Modeling published a paper by Ken Rogoff.  Paper was presented at American Economic Association, 2017.

Monetary policy in a low interest rate world

 

Eight BIS CCA Research Conference on “Low interest rates, monetary policy and international spillovers”, hosted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington DC, 25-26 May 2017

Low interest rates, monetary policy and international spillovers

 

Economist Magazine published an article on views of Bill Gross and others.

November 2015

Do ultra-low interest rates really damage growth?

 

Bloomberg Business Week published an article describing views of Charles Calomiris and others.

June 2017

Is the World Overdoing Low Interest Rates?

 

Claudio Borio and Boris Hofmann

The Paper was prepared for the Reserve Bank of Australia conference
“Monetary Policy and Financial Stability in a World of Low Interest Rates”,

16-17 March 2017, Sydney

Is monetary policy less effective when interest rates are persistently low?

 

Monetary policy and bank lending in a low interest rate environment: diminishing effectiveness?

Claudio Borio and Leonardo Gambacorta

February 2017

Monetary policy and bank lending in a low interest rate environment: diminishing effectiveness?

 

Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP):
Implications for Monetary Transmission and Bank Profitability in the Euro Area

Prepared by Andreas (Andy) Jobst and Huidan Lin

IMF

August 2016

Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP): Implications for Monetary Transmission and Bank Profitability in the Euro Area

 

James Bullard, President and CEO of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

March 24, 2009

The Henry Thornton Lecture, Cass Business School, London

Effective Monetary Policy in a Low Interest Rate Environment

 

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Monetary Policy, Financial Conditions, and Financial Stability

Tobias Adrian
Nellie Liang

Monetary Policy, Financial Conditions, and Financial Stability

 

Monetary policy, the financial cycle and ultra-low interest rates

Mikael Juselius of Bank of Finland

DNB Workshop on “Estimating and Interpreting Financial Cycles”

Amsterdam, 2 September 2016

Monetary policy, the financial cycle and ultra-low interest rates

BIS Paper

Monetary policy, the financial cycle and ultra-low interest rates

 

The dynamics of real interest rates, monetary policy and its limits

Philippe d’Arvisenet

May 2016

The dynamics of real interest rates, monetary policy and its limits

 

Output Gaps and Monetary Policy at Low Interest Rates

By Roberto M. Billi

Output Gaps and Monetary Policy at Low Interest Rates

 

The insensitivity of investment to interest rates: Evidence from a survey of CFOs

Steve A. Sharpe and Gustavo A. Suarez

2014-02

The insensitivity of investment to interest rates: Evidence from a survey of CFOs

 

Does Prolonged Monetary Policy Easing Increase Financial Vulnerability?

Prepared by Stephen Cecchetti, Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, and Machiko Narita

February 2017

Does Prolonged Monetary Policy Easing Increase Financial Vulnerability?

 

The Microeconomic Perils of Monetary Policy Experiments

Charles W. Calomiris

Cato Institute

The Microeconomic Perils of Monetary Policy Experiments

 

Why Have the Fed’s Policies Failed to Stimulate the Economy?

Mickey D. Levy

Cato Institute

Why Have the Fed’s Policies Failed to Stimulate the Economy?

Low Interest Rates and Banks’ Profitability : Update July 2017

Low Interest Rates and Banks’ Profitability : Update July 2017

 

Please see my previous posts.

Impact of Low Interest Rates on Bank’s Profitability

Low Interest Rates and Banks Profitability: Update – December 2016

 

Since December 2016, there are several new studies published which study low interest rates and Banks profitability.

 

 

Liberty State economics – a Blog of New York Federal Reserve has published a new column in June 2017.

Low Interest Rates and Bank Profits

 

 

Reduced Viability? Banks, Insurance Companies, and Low Interest Rates

CFA Institute

2016

CFA Institute Blog: Low Interest Rates and Banks

 

 

Changes in Profitability for Primary Dealers since the Financial Crisis

Benjamin Allen

Skidmore College

2017

Changes in Profitability for Primary Dealers since the Financial Crisis

 

 

Deloitte Consulting has published a new report in 2017 on Bank Models viability in environment of low interest rates.

Business model analysis European banking sector model in question

 

THE EFFECT OF NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES ON EUROPEAN BANKING
July 7, 2016
International banker

 

https://internationalbanker.com/banking/effect-negative-interest-rates-european-banking/

 

 

Low interest rates place a strain on the banks

bank of Finland

2016

https://www.bofbulletin.fi/en/2016/2/low-interest-rates-place-a-strain-on-the-banks/

 

 

The profitability of EU banks: Hard work or a lost cause?

KPMG

October 2016

 

https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2016/10/the-profitability-of-eu-banks.pdf

 

 

The influence of monetary policy on bank profitability

Claudio Borio

2017

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/infi.12104/abstract

 

 

Can Low Interest Rates be Harmful: An Assessment of the Bank Risk-Taking Channel in Asia

2014

Asian Development Bank

 

https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/31204/reiwp-123-can-low-interest-rates-harmful.pdf

 

 

Determinants of bank’s interest margin in the aftermath of the crisis: the effect of interest rates and the yield curve slope

Paula Cruz-García, Juan Fernández de Guevara and Joaquín Maudos

 

http://www.uv.es/inteco/jornadas/jornadas13/Cruz-Garcia,%20Fernandez%20and%20Maudos_XIII%20Inteco%20Workshop.pdf

 

 

Dutch Central Bank has published a new study in November of 2016 on Banks’ Profitability and risk taking in a prolonged environment of Low Interest Rates.

Bank profitability and risk taking in a prolonged environment of low interest rates: a study of interest rate risk in the banking book of Dutch banks

 

 

Net interest margin in a low interest rate environment: Evidence for Slovenia

Net interest margin in a low interest rate environment: Evidence for Slovenia

 

Global Financial Stability Report, April 2017: Getting the Policy Mix Right

IMF

2017

IMF Global Financial Stability Report April 2017

 

 

Negative Interest Rates: Forecasting Banks’ Profitability in a New Environment

Stefan Kerbl, Michael Sigmund

Bank of Finland

Negative Interest Rates: Forecasting Banks’ Profitability in a New Environment

 

 

Low Interest Rates and the Financial System

Remarks by Jerome H. Powell
Member Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
at the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Finance Association
Chicago, Illinois
January 7, 2017

https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/powell20170107a.pdf

 

 

Bad zero: Financial Stability in a Low Interest Rate Environment

Elena Carletti  Giuseppe Ferrero

18 June 2017

https://www.dnb.nl/en/binaries/paper%20Carletti_Ferrero_18June2017_tcm47-360758.pdf

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

Short term Thinking in Investment Decisions of Businesses and Financial Markets

 

When companies buyback shares and pay dividends rather than investing in new capacity, it leads to low economic growth and low aggregate demand.

Central Banks respond by cutting interest rates.  Yet Businesses do not invest in new capacity.

Many studies attribute this to short term thinking dominant in corporate investment decisions.  Pressures from shareholders push corporate managers to be short term oriented.

Many economists and thinkers have criticized this recently as advanced economies are suffering from anemic growth.

Larry Summers has invoked Secular Stagnation.  He says one of the reason for Secular Stagnation is short term thinking.

Andy Haldane of Bank of England has criticized short term thinking as it prevents investments and causes low economic growth.

Key Terms:

  • Quarterly Capitalism
  • Secular Stagnation
  • Short Term Thinking
  • Low Economic Growth
  • Business Investments
  • Real Interest Rates
  • Monetary Policy
  • Income and Wealth Inequality
  • Aggregate Demand
  • Productive Capacity
  • Productivity growth
  • Long Term Investments
  • Share Buybacks
  • Dividends
  • Corporate Cash Pools

 

Capitalism for the Long Term

The near meltdown of the financial system and the ensuing Great Recession have been, and will remain, the defining issue for the current generation of executives. Now that the worst seems to be behind us, it’s tempting to feel deep relief—and a strong desire to return to the comfort of business as usual. But that is simply not an option. In the past three years we’ve already seen a dramatic acceleration in the shifting balance of power between the developed West and the emerging East, a rise in populist politics and social stresses in a number of countries, and significant strains on global governance systems. As the fallout from the crisis continues, we’re likely to see increased geopolitical rivalries, new international security challenges, and rising tensions from trade, migration, and resource competition. For business leaders, however, the most consequential outcome of the crisis is the challenge to capitalism itself.

That challenge did not just arise in the wake of the Great Recession. Recall that trust in business hit historically low levels more than a decade ago. But the crisis and the surge in public antagonism it unleashed have exacerbated the friction between business and society. On top of anxiety about persistent problems such as rising income inequality, we now confront understandable anger over high unemployment, spiraling budget deficits, and a host of other issues. Governments feel pressure to reach ever deeper inside businesses to exert control and prevent another system-shattering event.

My goal here is not to offer yet another assessment of the actions policymakers have taken or will take as they try to help restart global growth. The audience I want to engage is my fellow business leaders. After all, much of what went awry before and after the crisis stemmed from failures of governance, decision making, and leadership within companies. These are failures we can and should address ourselves.

In an ongoing effort that started 18 months ago, I’ve met with more than 400 business and government leaders across the globe. Those conversations have reinforced my strong sense that, despite a certain amount of frustration on each side, the two groups share the belief that capitalism has been and can continue to be the greatest engine of prosperity ever devised—and that we will need it to be at the top of its job-creating, wealth-generating game in the years to come. At the same time, there is growing concern that if the fundamental issues revealed in the crisis remain unaddressed and the system fails again, the social contract between the capitalist system and the citizenry may truly rupture, with unpredictable but severely damaging results.

Most important, the dialogue has clarified for me the nature of the deep reform that I believe business must lead—nothing less than a shift from what I call quarterly capitalism to what might be referred to as long-term capitalism. (For a rough definition of “long term,” think of the time required to invest in and build a profitable new business, which McKinsey research suggests is at least five to seven years.) This shift is not just about persistently thinking and acting with a next-generation view—although that’s a key part of it. It’s about rewiring the fundamental ways we govern, manage, and lead corporations. It’s also about changing how we view business’s value and its role in society.

There are three essential elements of the shift. First, business and finance must jettison their short-term orientation and revamp incentives and structures in order to focus their organizations on the long term. Second, executives must infuse their organizations with the perspective that serving the interests of all major stakeholders—employees, suppliers, customers, creditors, communities, the environment—is not at odds with the goal of maximizing corporate value; on the contrary, it’s essential to achieving that goal. Third, public companies must cure the ills stemming from dispersed and disengaged ownership by bolstering boards’ ability to govern like owners.

When making major decisions, Asians typically think in terms of at least 10 to 15 years. In the U.S. and Europe, nearsightedness is the norm.

None of these ideas, or the specific proposals that follow, are new. What is new is the urgency of the challenge. Business leaders today face a choice: We can reform capitalism, or we can let capitalism be reformed for us, through political measures and the pressures of an angry public. The good news is that the reforms will not only increase trust in the system; they will also strengthen the system itself. They will unleash the innovation needed to tackle the world’s grand challenges, pave the way for a new era of shared prosperity, and restore public faith in business.

1. Fight the Tyranny of Short-Termism

As a Canadian who for 25 years has counseled business, public sector, and nonprofit leaders across the globe (I’ve lived in Toronto, Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, and now London), I’ve had a privileged glimpse into different societies’ values and how leaders in various cultures think. In my view, the most striking difference between East and West is the time frame leaders consider when making major decisions. Asians typically think in terms of at least 10 to 15 years. For example, in my discussions with the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak shortly after his election in 2008, he asked us to help come up with a 60-year view of his country’s future (though we settled for producing a study called National Vision 2020.) In the U.S. and Europe, nearsightedness is the norm. I believe that having a long-term perspective is the competitive advantage of many Asian economies and businesses today.

Myopia plagues Western institutions in every sector. In business, the mania over quarterly earnings consumes extraordinary amounts of senior time and attention. Average CEO tenure has dropped from 10 to six years since 1995, even as the complexity and scale of firms have grown. In politics, democracies lurch from election to election, with candidates proffering dubious short-term panaceas while letting long-term woes in areas such as economic competitiveness, health, and education fester. Even philanthropy often exhibits a fetish for the short term and the new, with grantees expected to become self-sustaining in just a few years.

Lost in the frenzy is the notion that long-term thinking is essential for long-term success. Consider Toyota, whose journey to world-class manufacturing excellence was years in the making. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s it endured low to nonexistent sales in the U.S.—and it even stopped exporting altogether for one bleak four-year period—before finally emerging in the following decades as a global leader. Think of Hyundai, which experienced quality problems in the late 1990s but made a comeback by reengineering its cars for long-term value—a strategy exemplified by its unprecedented introduction, in 1999, of a 10-year car warranty. That radical move, viewed by some observers as a formula for disaster, helped Hyundai quadruple U.S. sales in three years and paved the way for its surprising entry into the luxury market.

To be sure, long-term perspectives can be found in the West as well. For example, in 1985, in the face of fierce Japanese competition, Intel famously decided to abandon its core business, memory chips, and focus on the then-emerging business of microprocessors. This “wrenching” decision was “nearly inconceivable” at the time, says Andy Grove, who was then the company’s president. Yet by making it, Intel emerged in a few years on top of a new multi-billion-dollar industry. Apple represents another case in point. The iPod, released in 2001, sold just 400,000 units in its first year, during which Apple’s share price fell by roughly 25%. But the board took the long view. By late 2009 the company had sold 220 million iPods—and revolutionized the music business.

It’s fair to say, however, that such stories are countercultural. In the 1970s the average holding period for U.S. equities was about seven years; now it’s more like seven months. According to a recent paper by Andrew Haldane, of the Bank of England, such churning has made markets far more volatile and produced yawning gaps between corporations’ market price and their actual value. Then there are the “hyperspeed” traders (some of whom hold stocks for only a few seconds), who now account for 70% of all U.S. equities trading, by one estimate. In response to these trends, executives must do a better job of filtering input, and should give more weight to the views of investors with a longer-term, buy-and-hold orientation.

If they don’t, short-term capital will beget short-term management through a natural chain of incentives and influence. If CEOs miss their quarterly earnings targets, some big investors agitate for their removal. As a result, CEOs and their top teams work overtime to meet those targets. The unintended upshot is that they manage for only a small portion of their firm’s value. When McKinsey’s finance experts deconstruct the value expectations embedded in share prices, we typically find that 70% to 90% of a company’s value is related to cash flows expected three or more years out. If the vast majority of most firms’ value depends on results more than three years from now, but management is preoccupied with what’s reportable three months from now, then capitalism has a problem.

Roughly 70% of all U.S. equities trading is now done by “hyperspeed” traders—some of whom hold stocks for only a few seconds.

Some rightly resist playing this game. Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Ford, to name just a few, have stopped issuing earnings guidance altogether. Google never did. IBM has created five-year road maps to encourage investors to focus more on whether it will reach its long-term earnings targets than on whether it exceeds or misses this quarter’s target by a few pennies. “I can easily make my numbers by cutting SG&A or R&D, but then we wouldn’t get the innovations we need,” IBM’s CEO, Sam Palmisano, told us recently. Mark Wiseman, executive vice president at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, advocates investing “for the next quarter century,” not the next quarter. And Warren Buffett has quipped that his ideal holding period is “forever.” Still, these remain admirable exceptions.

To break free of the tyranny of short-termism, we must start with those who provide capital. Taken together, pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, and sovereign wealth funds hold $65 trillion, or roughly 35% of the world’s financial assets. If these players focus too much attention on the short term, capitalism as a whole will, too.

In theory they shouldn’t, because the beneficiaries of these funds have an obvious interest in long-term value creation. But although today’s standard practices arose from the desire to have a defensible, measurable approach to portfolio management, they have ended up encouraging shortsightedness. Fund trustees, often advised by investment consultants, assess their money managers’ performance relative to benchmark indices and offer only short-term contracts. Those managers’ compensation is linked to the amount of assets they manage, which typically rises when short-term performance is strong. Not surprisingly, then, money managers focus on such performance—and pass this emphasis along to the companies in which they invest. And so it goes, on down the line.

Only 45% of those surveyed in the U.S. and the UK expressed trust in business. This stands in stark contrast to developing countries: For example, the figure is 61% in China, 70% in India, and 81% in Brazil.

As the stewardship advocate Simon Wong points out, under the current system pension funds deem an asset manager who returns 10% to have underperformed if the relevant benchmark index rises by 12%. Would it be unthinkable for institutional investors instead to live with absolute gains on the (perfectly healthy) order of 10%—especially if they like the approach that delivered those gains—and review performance every three or five years, instead of dropping the 10-percenter? Might these big funds set targets for the number of holdings and rates of turnover, at least within the “fundamental investing” portion of their portfolios, and more aggressively monitor those targets? More radically, might they end the practice of holding thousands of stocks and achieve the benefits of diversification with fewer than a hundred—thereby increasing their capacity to effectively engage with the businesses they own and improve long-term performance? Finally, could institutional investors beef up their internal skills and staff to better execute such an agenda? These are the kinds of questions we need to address if we want to align capital’s interests more closely with capitalism’s.

2. Serve Stakeholders, Enrich Shareholders

The second imperative for renewing capitalism is disseminating the idea that serving stakeholders is essential to maximizing corporate value. Too often these aims are presented as being in tension: You’re either a champion of shareholder value or you’re a fan of the stakeholders. This is a false choice.

The inspiration for shareholder-value maximization, an idea that took hold in the 1970s and 1980s, was reasonable: Without some overarching financial goal with which to guide and gauge a firm’s performance, critics feared, managers could divert corporate resources to serve their own interests rather than the owners’. In fact, in the absence of concrete targets, management might become an exercise in politics and stakeholder engagement an excuse for inefficiency. Although this thinking was quickly caricatured in popular culture as the doctrine of “greed is good,” and was further tarnished by some companies’ destructive practices in its name, in truth there was never any inherent tension between creating value and serving the interests of employees, suppliers, customers, creditors, communities, and the environment. Indeed, thoughtful advocates of value maximization have always insisted that it is long-term value that has to be maximized.

Capitalism’s founding philosopher voiced an even bolder aspiration. “All the members of human society stand in need of each others assistance, and are likewise exposed to mutual injuries,” Adam Smith wrote in his 1759 work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. “The wise and virtuous man,” he added, “is at all times willing that his own private interest should be sacrificed to the public interest,” should circumstances so demand.

Smith’s insight into the profound interdependence between business and society, and how that interdependence relates to long-term value creation, still reverberates. In 2008 and again in 2010, McKinsey surveyed nearly 2,000 executives and investors; more than 75% said that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives create corporate value in the long term. Companies that bring a real stakeholder perspective into corporate strategy can generate tangible value even sooner. (See the sidebar “Who’s Getting It Right?”)

Creating direct business value, however, is not the only or even the strongest argument for taking a societal perspective. Capitalism depends on public trust for its legitimacy and its very survival. According to the Edelman public relations agency’s just-released 2011 Trust Barometer, trust in business in the U.S. and the UK (although up from mid-crisis record lows) is only in the vicinity of 45%. This stands in stark contrast to developing countries: For example, the figure is 61% in China, 70% in India, and 81% in Brazil. The picture is equally bleak for individual corporations in the Anglo-American world, “which saw their trust rankings drop again last year to near-crisis lows,” says Richard Edelman.

How can business leaders restore the public’s trust? Many Western executives find that nothing in their careers has prepared them for this new challenge. Lee Scott, Walmart’s former CEO, has been refreshingly candid about arriving in the top job with a serious blind spot. He was plenty busy minding the store, he says, and had little feel for the need to engage as a statesman with groups that expected something more from the world’s largest company. Fortunately, Scott was a fast learner, and Walmart has become a leader in environmental and health care issues.

Tomorrow’s CEOs will have to be, in Joseph Nye’s apt phrase, “tri-sector athletes”: able and experienced in business, government, and the social sector. But the pervading mind-set gets in the way of building those leadership and management muscles. “Analysts and investors are focused on the short term,” one executive told me recently. “They believe social initiatives don’t create value in the near term.” In other words, although a large majority of executives believe that social initiatives create value in the long term, they don’t act on this belief, out of fear that financial markets might frown. Getting capital more aligned with capitalism should help businesses enrich shareholders by better serving stakeholders.

3. Act Like You Own the Place

As the financial sector’s troubles vividly exposed, when ownership is broadly fragmented, no one acts like he’s in charge. Boards, as they currently operate, don’t begin to serve as a sufficient proxy. All the Devils Are Here, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, describes how little awareness Merrill Lynch’s board had of the firm’s soaring exposure to subprime mortgage instruments until it was too late. “I actually don’t think risk management failed,” Larry Fink, the CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, said during a 2009 debate about the future of capitalism, sponsored by the Financial Times. “I think corporate governance failed, because…the boards didn’t ask the right questions.”

What McKinsey has learned from studying successful family-owned companies suggests a way forward: The most effective ownership structure tends to combine some exposure in the public markets (for the discipline and capital access that exposure helps provide) with a significant, committed, long-term owner. Most large public companies, however, have extremely dispersed ownership, and boards rarely perform the single-owner-proxy role. As a result, CEOs too often listen to the investors (and members of the media) who make the most noise. Unfortunately, those parties tend to be the most nearsighted ones. And so the tyranny of the short term is reinforced.

The answer is to renew corporate governance by rooting it in committed owners and by giving those owners effective mechanisms with which to influence management. We call this ownership-based governance, and it requires three things:

Just 43% of the nonexecutive directors of public companies believe they significantly influence strategy. For this to change, board members must devote much more time to their roles.

More-effective boards.

In the absence of a dominant shareholder (and many times when there is one), the board must represent a firm’s owners and serve as the agent of long-term value creation. Even among family firms, the executives of the top-performing companies wield their influence through the board. But only 43% of the nonexecutive directors of public companies believe they significantly influence strategy. For this to change, board members must devote much more time to their roles. A government-commissioned review of the governance of British banks last year recommended an enormous increase in the time required of nonexecutive directors of banks—from the current average, between 12 and 20 days annually, to between 30 and 36 days annually. What’s especially needed is an increase in the informal time board members spend with investors and executives. The nonexecutive board directors of companies owned by private equity firms spend 54 days a year, on average, attending to the company’s business, and 70% of that time consists of informal meetings and conversations. Four to five days a month obviously give a board member much greater understanding and impact than the three days a quarter (of which two may be spent in transit) devoted by the typical board member of a public company.

Boards also need much more relevant experience. Industry knowledge—which four of five nonexecutive directors of big companies lack—helps boards identify immediate opportunities and reduce risk. Contextual knowledge about the development path of an industry—for example, whether the industry is facing consolidation, disruption from new technologies, or increased regulation—is highly valuable, too. Such insight is often obtained from experience with other industries that have undergone a similar evolution.

In addition, boards need more-effective committee structures—obtainable through, for example, the establishment of a strategy committee or of dedicated committees for large business units. Directors also need the resources to allow them to form independent views on strategy, risk, and performance (perhaps by having a small analytical staff that reports only to them). This agenda implies a certain professionalization of nonexecutive directorships and a more meaningful strategic partnership between boards and top management. It may not please some executive teams accustomed to boards they can easily “manage.” But given the failures of governance to date, it is a necessary change.

More-sensible CEO pay.

An important task of governance is setting executive compensation. Although 70% of board directors say that pay should be tied more closely to performance, CEO pay is too often structured to reward a leader simply for having made it to the top, not for what he or she does once there. Meanwhile, polls show that the disconnect between pay and performance is contributing to the decline in public esteem for business.

Companies should create real risk for executives.Some experts privately suggest mandating that new executives invest a year’s salary in the company.

CEOs and other executives should be paid to act like owners. Once upon a time we thought that stock options would achieve this result, but stock-option- based compensation schemes have largely incentivized the wrong behavior. When short-dated, options lead to a focus on meeting quarterly earnings estimates; even when long-dated (those that vest after three years or more), they can reward managers for simply surfing industry- or economy-wide trends (although reviewing performance against an appropriate peer index can help minimize free rides). Moreover, few compensation schemes carry consequences for failure—something that became clear during the financial crisis, when many of the leaders of failed institutions retired as wealthy people.

There will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to this complex issue, but companies should push for change in three key areas:

• They should link compensation to the fundamental drivers of long-term value, such as innovation and efficiency, not just to share price.

• They should extend the time frame for executive evaluations—for example, using rolling three-year performance evaluations, or requiring five-year plans and tracking performance relative to plan. This would, of course, require an effective board that is engaged in strategy formation.

• They should create real downside risk for executives, perhaps by requiring them to put some skin in the game. Some experts we’ve surveyed have privately suggested mandating that new executives invest a year’s salary in the company.

Redefined shareholder “democracy.”

The huge increase in equity churn in recent decades has spawned an anomaly of governance: At any annual meeting, a large number of those voting may soon no longer be shareholders. The advent of high-frequency trading will only worsen this trend. High churn rates, short holding periods, and vote-buying practices may mean the demise of the “one share, one vote” principle of governance, at least in some circumstances. Indeed, many large, top-performing companies, such as Google, have never adhered to it. Maybe it’s time for new rules that would give greater weight to long-term owners, like the rule in some French companies that gives two votes to shares held longer than a year. Or maybe it would make sense to assign voting rights based on the average turnover of an investor’s portfolio. If we want capitalism to focus on the long term, updating our notions of shareholder democracy in such ways will soon seem less like heresy and more like common sense.

While I remain convinced that capitalism is the economic system best suited to advancing the human condition, I’m equally persuaded that it must be renewed, both to deal with the stresses and volatility ahead and to restore business’s standing as a force for good, worthy of the public’s trust. The deficiencies of the quarterly capitalism of the past few decades were not deficiencies in capitalism itself—just in that particular variant. By rebuilding capitalism for the long term, we can make it stronger, more resilient, more equitable, and better able to deliver the sustainable growth the world needs. The three imperatives outlined above can be a start along this path and, I hope, a way to launch the conversation; others will have their own ideas to add.

The kind of deep-seated, systemic changes I’m calling for can be achieved only if boards, business executives, and investors around the world take responsibility for bettering the system they lead. Such changes will not be easy; they are bound to encounter resistance, and business leaders today have more than enough to do just to keep their companies running well. We must make the effort regardless. If capitalism emerges from the crisis vibrant and renewed, future generations will thank us. But if we merely paper over the cracks and return to our precrisis views, we will not want to read what the historians of the future will write. The time to reflect—and to act—is now.

 

Please see my other related posts.

Business Investments and Low Interest Rates

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

 

 

Key sources of Research:

Secular stagnation and low investment: Breaking the vicious cycle—a discussion paper

McKinsey

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/europe/secular-stagnation-and-low-investment-breaking-the-vicious-cycle

Case Still Out on Whether Corporate Short-Termism Is a Problem

Larry Summers

http://larrysummers.com/2017/02/09/case-still-out-on-whether-corporate-short-termism-is-a-problem/

Where companies with a long-term view outperform their peers

McKinsey

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/long-term-capitalism/where-companies-with-a-long-term-view-outperform-their-peers

How short-term thinking hampers long-term economic growth

FT

https://www.ft.com/content/8c868a98-b821-11e4-b6a5-00144feab7de

Anthony Hilton: Short-term thinking hits nations as a whole, not just big business

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/anthony-hilton-short-term-thinking-hits-nations-as-a-whole-not-just-big-business-10427294.html

Short-termism in business: causes, mechanisms and consequences

EY Poland Report

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_Poland_Report/$FILE/Short-termism_raport_EY.pdf

Overcoming the Barriers to Long-term Thinking in Financial Markets

Ruth Curran and Alice Chapple
Forum for the Future

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/sites/default/files/project/downloads/long-term-thinking-fpf-report-july-11.pdf

Understanding Short-Termism: Questions and Consequences

http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Understanding-Short-Termism.pdf

Ending Short-Termism : An Investment Agenda for Growth

http://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Ending-Short-Termism.pdf

The Short Long

Speech by
Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, and Richard Davies

Brussels May 2011

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/speeches/2011/speech495.pdf

Capitalism for the Long Term

Dominic Barton

From the March 2011 Issue

https://hbr.org/2011/03/capitalism-for-the-long-term

Quarterly capitalism: The pervasive effects of short-termism and austerity

https://currentlyunderdevelopment.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/quarterly-capitalism-the-pervasive-effects-of-short-termism-and-austerity/

Is Short-Term Behavior Jeopardizing the Future Prosperity of Business?

http://www.wlrk.com/docs/IsShortTermBehaviorJeopardizingTheFutureProsperityOfBusiness_CEOStrategicimplications.pdf

Andrew G Haldane: The short long

Speech by Mr Andrew Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, and Mr Richard
Davies, Economist, Financial Institutions Division, Bank of England,
at the 29th Société
Universitaire Européene de Recherches Financières Colloquium,
Brussels, 11 May 2011

http://www.bis.org/review/r110511e.pdf

THE UNEASY CASE FOR FAVORING LONG-TERM SHAREHOLDERS

Jesse M. Fried

https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/17985223/Fried_795.pdf?sequence=1

The fringe economic theory that might get traction in the 2016 campaign

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/02/the-fringe-economic-theory-that-might-get-traction-in-the-2016-campaign/?utm_term=.932bc0b97758

FCLT Global:  Focusing Capital on the Long Term

Publications

http://www.fcltglobal.org/insights/publications

Finally, Evidence That Managing for the Long Term Pays Off

Dominic Barton

James Manyika

Sarah Keohane Williamson

February 07, 2017 UPDATED February 09, 2017

https://hbr.org/2017/02/finally-proof-that-managing-for-the-long-term-pays-off

Focusing Capital on the Long Term

Dominic Barton

Mark Wiseman

From the January–February 2014 Issue

Is Corporate Short-Termism Really a Problem? The Jury’s Still Out

Lawrence H. Summers

February 16, 2017

Yes, Short-Termism Really Is a Problem

Roger L. Martin

October 09, 2015

Long-Termism or Lemons

The Role of Public Policy in Promoting Long-Term Investments

By Marc Jarsulic, Brendan V. Duke, and Michael Madowitz October 2015

Center for American Progress

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/21060054/LongTermism-reportB.pdf

 

Overcoming Short-termism: A Call for A More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management

https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2009/09/11/overcoming-short-termism-a-call-for-a-more-responsible-approach-to-investment-and-business-management/

 

 

Focusing capital on the Long Term

Jean-Hugues Monier – Senior Parter – McKinsey & Company

Princeton University – November 2016

http://jrc.princeton.edu/sites/jrc/files/jean-hugues_j._monier_slides_final.pdf

Bank of Finland’s Payment And Settlement System Simulator (BoF-PSS2)

Bank of Finland’s Payment And Settlement System Simulator (BoF-PSS2)

 

From Payment and Settlement System Simulator

BOF-PSS2

The Bank of Finland provides a simulator called BoF-PSS2 for replicating payment and securities settlement systems. The simulator is adaptable for modelling multisystem setups that can be a combination of payment, securities settlement systems and CCP’s. The simulator is known to be unique and the first of its kind. Since its launch in 2002 it has been distributed to more than 90 countries and has contributed to numerous studies and research papers.

The simulator can be used to fulfill some of the regulatory requirements stated in the PFMI’s and BCBS requirements such as identifying the liquidity risks inpayment systems. Here under are topics the simulator can be used for:

  • Settlement, liquidity and credit risks in FMI’s
  • Systemic Risks and Counterparty risks in FMI’s
  • Identification of critical counterparts
  • Policy change impact evaluation
  • Network analysis
  • Liquidity dependency analysis
  • Relationship analysis of Monetary policy and liquidity needs for settlement of payments
  • Evaluation of sufficiency of liquidity buffers and margins
  • System merger effects on liquidity needs
  • System performance benchmarking
  • Netting algorithm testing and development
  • System development and prototyping

In comparison to static calculations of indicators, the simulation results naturally incorporate network (or systemic) effects rising from the payments flows and the technical properties of the infrastructures themselves. The results obtained from simulations are directly interpretable and have a self-evident meaning which is not always the case with all indicators. The results can directly be used for risk management purposes for example when evaluating the sufficiency of liquidity buffers and margins. Computer simulations take advantage of using the available information in full without losing micro-level information due to indicator aggregations.

The simulator is freely available for research purposes, and has already been introduced in numerous countries. It is possible to tailor and adapt the simulator to specific payment systems. Several adaptations of the simulator have already been made, eg. for TARGET2. The simulator team provides trainings, consultation and tailored adaptations which are priced for cost recovery. The training course aims at providing necessary skills for efficient use of BoF-PSS2 with hands on computer class exercises. It also presents numerous examples from real studies where the tool has been used. For more details see the training course outline. Minimum attendance to the session is four participants.

Basically, trainings are organised upon demand and it is also possible to order a training course to be held onsite outside the proposed dates.

 

From Payment and Settlement System Simulator / Product Page

product_en_144ppi

From Payment and Settlement System Simulator / Documentation page

The Bank of Finland Payment and Settlement System Simulator, version 2 (BoF-PSS2), is a powerful tool for payment and securities settlement system simulations. The simulator supports multiple system structures and various settlement models.

The simulator is designed for analysing liquidity needs and risks in payment and settlement systems. Special situations, often difficult or impossible to test in a real environment, can be readily simulated with BoF-PSS2. Thus, users can study how behavioral patterns and changes in policy and conventions impact the payment and settlement systems and participants. The efficiency of gridlock-resolution and liquidity-saving measures can be analyzed as well.

The application is divided into three sub-systems:

  • Input sub-system for preparing and defining the input data,
  • Execution sub-system for running simulations,
  • Output sub-system for basic analyses of simulation results.

Different settlement logics are implemented into separate algorithms. To replicate specific systems, appropriate algorithms must be selected with appropriate parameters. Different algorithm combinations can be used to replicate a large number of current and potential settlement conventions and structures. Real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS), continuous net settlement systems (CNS), deferred net settlement systems (DNS) and hybrid systems can be implemented with the simulator as well as securities settlement and multicurrency systems. Inter-system connections and bridges make it possible to define multi- system environments consisting of various types of interdependent systems. E.g. it is possible to replicate the interaction of RTGS and securities settlement systems.

Advanced users of BoF-PSS2 can define and build their own user modules/algorithms and expand the basic features of the simulator to analyse new types of settlement processes. It is also possible to implement agent based modeling by adding algorithms replicating the participants’ behavior and decision making to control and alter the flow of submitted transactions. As a later addition, the simulator also has a network analysis module for generating networks and network indicators from either input data or results of simulations.

BoF-PSS2 has an easy to use graphical user interface. It is also possible to automate the use of the simulator via its command line interface (CLI).

 

From Payment and Settlement System Simulator / Product Page

TARGET2 SIMULATOR

A separate TARGET2 simulator version of BoF-PSS2 has been developed and delivered for the European System of Central Banks. It is based on the same basic software architechture and features of BoF-PSS2. Additional features are implemented as separate algorithm modules which replicate the proprietary algorithms of actual TARGET2 system. It is used by Eurosystem for quantitative analyses and numerical simulations of TARGET2.

TARGET2 simulator has been jointly delivered by Suomen Pankki (Bank of Finland) and the 3CB (Banca d’Italia, Deutsche Bundesbank, Banque de France) based on a decision of ECB Governing Council.

 

 

Key Terms

  • Liquidity Simulator
  • Payment System
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Stability
  • Cascades of Failures
  • Congestions and Delays
  • Financial Market Infrastructures
  • Payment Networks
  • Contagion
  • RTGS
  • Simulation Analysis
  • TARGET2
  • Intraday Payments

 

Key People

  • Harry Leinonen
  • Tatu Laine
  • Matti Hellqvist
  • Kimmo Soramäki

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

Payment and Settlement System Simulator – A tool for analysis of liquidity, risk and efficiency

Bank of Finland Payment and Settlement Simulator

2006

 

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/globalassets/en/financial-stability/payment-and-settelement-system-simulator/events/2006_11a_hl.pdf

 

 

BoF-PSS2 Technical structure and simulation features

Harry Leinonen

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/globalassets/en/financial-stability/payment-and-settelement-system-simulator/events/20031519seminarpresentationleinonen2.pdf

 

 

Payment and Settlement System Simulator

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/financial-stability/bof-pss2-simulator/

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/financial-stability/bof-pss2-simulator/product/

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/financial-stability/bof-pss2-simulator/events/

 

 

Publications

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/financial-stability/bof-pss2-simulator/publications/

 

 

Quantitative analysis of financial market infrastructures: further perspectives on financial stability

E50

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/handle/123456789/13990

 

 

Diagnostics for the financial markets : computational studies of payment system : Simulator Seminar Proceedings 2009-2011

E45

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/handle/123456789/9381

 

 

Simulation analyses and stress testing of payment networks

E42

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/handle/123456789/9369

 

 

Simulation studies of liquidity needs, risks and efficiency in payment networks : Proceedings from the Bank of Finland Payment and Settlement System Seminars 2005-2006

E39

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/handle/123456789/9370

 

 

Liquidity, risks and speed in payment and settlement systems : a simulation approach

E31

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/handle/123456789/9355

 

 

Simulation Analysis and Tools for the Oversight of Payment Systems

 

http://www.cemla.org/actividades/2012/2012-12-payments/2012-12-vigilanciasistemasdepago-10.pdf

 

 

Utilizing the BoF simulator in quantitative FMI analysis

Tatu Laine

Banco de México

15.10.2014

 

http://www.banxico.org.mx/publicaciones-y-discursos/publicaciones/seminarios/banco-de-mexico_-the-evolving-landscape-of-payment/%7B15D9D1D3-D455-1E98-6FA6-AFB3B30C4ACB%7D.pdf

 

 

TARGET2 Simulator

https://www.banque-france.fr/sites/default/files/media/2016/11/07/target_newsletter_7_2013.pdf

 

 

Intraday patterns and timing of TARGET2 interbank payments

Marco Massarenti

Silvio Petriconi

Johannes Lindner

 

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7177/0b5a0eb557b478843891449221c6ed2e7502.pdf

 

 

Communities and driver nodes in the TARGET2 payment system

Marco Galbiatiy, Lucian Stanciu-Vizeteuz

June 17, 2015

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marco_Galbiati/publication/279511583_Communities_and_driver_nodes_in_the_TARGET2_payment_system/links/5593d39c08ae1e9cb42a1904.pdf

 

 

Payment Delays and Contagion

Ben Craig† Dilyara Salakhova‡ Martin Saldias§

November 14, 2014

http://www.systemic-risk-hub.org/papers/bibliography/CraigSalakhovaSaldias_2014_preview.pdf

 

 

Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review

September 2008 Volume 14 Number 2

Special Issue: The Economics of Payments

 

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/epr/2008/EPRvol14n2.pdf

 

 

Contagion in Payment and Settlement Systems

 

Matti Hellqvist

2006

 

https://www.imf.org/external/np/seminars/eng/2006/stress/pdf/mh.pdf

 

 

Applications of BoF-PSS2 simulator and how to use it in agent based models

 

http://terna.to.it/ABM-BaF09/presentations/Hellqvist(presentation)_ABM-BaF09.pdf

 

 

Simulation and Analysis of Cascading Failure in Critical Infrastructure

Robert Glass, Walt Beyeler, Kimmo Soramäki, MortenBech and Jeffrey Arnold

Sandia National Laboratories, European Central Bank,  Federal Reserve Bank of New York

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/globalassets/en/financial-stability/payment-and-settelement-system-simulator/events/07-glass_pres.pdf

 

 

Simulation analysis of payment systems

 

Kimmo Soramäki

2011

http://www.cemla.org/actividades/2011/2011-11-vigilancia/2011-11-vigilancia-07.pdf

 

 

Simulating interbank payment and securities settlement mechanisms with the BoF-PSS2 simulator

Harry Leinonen

Kimmo Soramäki

 

2003

 

https://www.suomenpankki.fi/globalassets/en/rahoitusjarjestelman_vakaus/bof-pss2/documentation/bof_dp_2303.pdf

 

Economics of Trade Finance

Economics of Trade Finance

 

Matrix of trade finance instruments

  • Raising working capital for exports: Debt financing; Asset-based financing; Export factoring; and Leasing
  • Facilitating payments: Cash-in-advance; Letter of Credit(L/C); Documentary collection; and Open accounts
  • Mitigating risks: Export credit guarantee; Export credit insurance; Forfeiting; and Hedging.

 

Trade Finance is the lubricant in Global Trade.  The concentration of banks providing Trade Finance is very high.  So are the risks if a bank fails or withdraws credit due to regulations.

Questions:

  • How many Banks provide Trade Finance?
  • What happens when Banks withdraw credit due to Financial Crisis?
  • What other alternatives are there for Trade Finance ?  GTLP?
  • What is the role of increased regulations on Trade Finance? BASEL III

 

From Trade finance around the world

tradefin2tradefin3

 

Decline in Trade Finance as a cause of Global Trade Collapse

  • Concentration of Banks providing Trade Finance
  • De-risking by EU Banks to EMEs due to BASEL III requirement
  • Backlash against Trade

 

From DE-RISKING BY BANKS IN EMERGING MARKETS – EFFECTS AND RESPONSES FOR TRADE / IFC EMCOMPASS

Emerging evidence suggests that de-risking is a reality. Increased capital requirements, coupled with rising Know-Your-Customer, Anti-Money-Laundering, and Combating-the-Financing-of-Terrorism compliance costs have resulted in the exit of several global banks from cross-border relationships with many emerging market clients and markets, particularly in the correspondent banking business. A subset of this business, trade finance, is also at risk, with potential consequences for segments of emerging market trade. The emerging market trade finance gap was significant before the crisis and has since likely expanded. Those involved in addressing the de-risking challenge must focus on compliance consistency and effective adaptation of technological innovations.

 

From ADB 2016 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, and Jobs Survey

  • The estimated global trade finance gap is $1.6 trillion.
  • $692 billion of the gap is in developing Asia (including India and the People’s Republic of China).
  • 56% of SME trade finance proposals are rejected, while large corporates face rejection rates of 34% and multinational corporations are rejected only 10% of the time.
  • Firms report that 25% more trade finance would enable them to hire 20% more people.
  • Woman-owned firms face higher than average rejection rates.
  • 70% of surveyed firms are unfamiliar with digital finance, uptake rates highest in peer-to-peer lending.

 

From ADDRESSING THE GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF TRADE FINANCE

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) 2016 Global Survey on Trade Finance reveals that 61 percent of respondents cited a global shortage of trade finance—a figure that is particularly concerning as we continue to observe a period of prolonged sluggishness when it comes to global trade growth. But hope is not lost. Doina Buruiana, Project Manager at ICC Banking Commission, explains the various ways that the trade-finance gap can be filled.

For the fifth consecutive year, trade growth has been reported at below 3 percent and has not recovered to pre-crisis levels—with a global trade-finance shortage estimated to have reached US$1.6 trillion in 2016, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Such figures certainly make for grim reading. And what’s more, the findings from the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) 2016 Global Survey on Trade Finance—an annual report reflecting the issues and trends on the trade-finance landscape—are also providing cause for concern. Sixty-one percent of respondents—national, regional and global banks providing trade finance—reported a global shortage of trade finance.

There are various reasons for this. Ninety percent cited the cost or complexity of compliance requirements relating to anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC) and sanctions as a chief barrier to the provision of trade finance. Furthermore, 77 percent of respondents to the Global Survey cited Basel III regulatory requirements as a significant impediment to trade finance. Many global banks are withdrawing from several emerging-market regions dependent on trade and trade finance, partly due to pressures to favour domestic clients following some banks’ bailouts by taxpayers.

And the fallout can be severe. A shortage of trade finance impacts the growth of businesses worldwide. In particular, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being affected by the shortage of bank liquidity. According to the Global Survey, 58 percent of rejected trade-finance proposals were SME applications, despite the sector submitting 44 percent of all trade-finance proposals.

Yet hope is not lost. There are various ways in which the industry can adapt to not only bridge the gap in unmet demand for finance and help revive global growth, but also to evolve the industry, to drive healthy competition and to remove the focus from being global-bank dependent.

Backlash against trade

Improving understanding and attitudes toward trade, and awareness around trade finance, would be a good place to start. Across the world, many have attacked trade and globalisation for threatening jobs and benefitting only big businesses—sentiments that have been evident across the European Union (EU) during Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, and also during the recent US presidential election campaigns.

Indeed, we’ve seen a clear rise in protectionist and populist policies—a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) report cited that between mid-October 2015 and mid-May 2016, G20 economies had introduced new protectionist trade measures at the fastest pace since 2008. To address this, we need to first make the case for trade itself in order to highlight the importance of trade finance. It is therefore crucial that businesses and trade-finance industry stakeholders reinvigorate the narrative around global trade, relaying its significance to the public and ensuring that trade is on the agenda of policymakers worldwide.

Understanding trade finance.

Next, enhancing awareness around trade finance should also remain a top priority. While there has already been significant progress in the dialogue between trade-finance practitioners and regulators, and a noticeable shift towards a more suitable risk-aligned treatment of trade finance, it is crucial that we continue to emphasise the low risk nature of trade-finance instruments.

Indeed, ICC’s 2015 Trade Register report highlights the low risk nature of trade-finance products—with favourable credit and default-risk experience. For instance, the Trade Register shows that there is a low default rate across all short-term trade-finance products, with the average expected loss for short-term trade finance lower than typical corporate exposures. In particular, traditional documentary trade-finance products such as letters of credit (LC) are low risk. Remarkably, the transaction default rate for export LCs between 2008 and 2014 was 0.01 percent. Medium- to long-term products also fare well, with a low loss nature due to the export credit agency’s (ECA) guarantee—normally with investment-grade ratings and backed by high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) governments.

The need for increased awareness around trade finance extends well beyond traditional trade finance and also includes newer techniques and instruments under the supply-chain finance umbrella. We also need to raise industry understanding around compliance measures—differentiating between client KYC and non-client KYC, for instance, in order to ease processes. In addition, enhanced awareness and understanding in relatively unsettled areas in trade finance, such as trade-based money laundering, would help direct compliance measures. Despite common belief, for instance, only a small proportion of trade-based money laundering actually occurs in trade-finance transactions.

Collaboration

Yet while progress has certainly been made with regulation and compliance proposals, the Global Survey suggests that the costs associated with such measures are still, and will perhaps continue to be, prohibitive. As such, if we want to close the trade-finance gap, we need to move slightly away from a global bank-dominated financial landscape and embrace collaboration.

Financial-technology firms (fintechs) are increasingly shaping the future of trade finance, and make an obvious banking partner, with both parties bringing strengths and expertise to such arrangements. Indeed, many fintechs are looking to partner with—rather than compete with—banks due to balance-sheet requirements, the regulatory framework to navigate, and the industry expertise required to bring new concepts to fruition. Certainly, partnerships between the two players could drive additional efficiencies and the capacity of banks to conduct business—perhaps eventually reducing the trade-finance shortage.

Fintechs aren’t the only players that could potentially collaborate with banks—or even fill the trade-finance gap independently. The Global Survey found that export credit agencies (ECAs) are increasingly supporting export finance, with alternative liquidity flowing into the ECA space. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that they had successfully concluded business with institutional investors in ECA finance, up from 30 percent in the previous survey in 2015, reflective of the growing role of alternative investors.

The Global Survey also highlighted the important role of multilateral development banks (MDBs), with 75 percent of respondents agreeing that MDBs (and ECAs) help reduce trade-finance gaps. In particular, MDBs provide financial assistance to emerging markets for investment projects and policy-based loans. This can prove crucial for enabling access to trade finance in general, and for SMEs.

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program (TFP), for instance, fills market gaps for trade finance by providing guarantees and loans through more than 200 banks. The TFP has supported more than 12,000 transactions across Asia, valued at over US$23.1 billion—of which more than 7,700 involved SMEs. What’s more, the TFP focuses on markets in which the private sector has less capacity to provide trade finance, and where there are large trade-finance gaps.

However, the Global Survey also indicated that MDB and ECA support varies by region—with respondents deeming it most effective in advanced Asia, Russia and sub-Saharan Africa, and less effective in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, India and Central America and the Caribbean. Clearly, an increase in the envelope and effectiveness of MDB trade-finance provision in these regions will help further reduce the gap. In order to counter geographical disparities, the next step for MDBs is to consider any structural limitations in existing trade-finance programmes—or contextual difficulties in particular markets.

Finally, non-bank capital provides another useful source of trade finance, particularly from private-sector sources of finance—such as specialist financiers or alternative-finance providers. Since the financial crisis, these players have played an increasingly crucial role in meeting unmet demand, and have experienced considerable growth. What’s more, specialist financing is growing increasingly popular among companies in emerging markets, in which trade-finance demand is most acute.

Revamping trade finance.

Of course, one way to possibly boost the provision of trade finance is to make it more efficient and attractive. Certainly, the digitisation of trade finance holds huge potential. Automating trade finance can make overall processes more effective and reliable, increasing capacity for banks, corporates and other stakeholders along the supply chain. For instance, eDocs (paperless documents) streamline processes, with the ability for multiple parties to access, review and collaborate at any one time. The resulting operational improvements in turn reduce errors, maintain data integrity and accelerate the completion of agreements.

Despite the clear benefits, the Global Survey shows that there has been a slow uptake of digitisation. In fact, one-fifth of respondents reported that there is no evident digitisation at all, two-thirds saw very little impact of technology on trade finance, and just over 7 percent saw digitisation as being widespread. The slow uptake is likely due to the challenges of digitising trade—including the considerable scale and complexity of the task at hand, for instance. Banks should play a key role in advocating the benefits of digitisation and help their corporate clients adapt to new systems.

We cannot let the trade-finance gap incapacitate trade. Clearly, there are steps that the trade-finance industry can take to help meet unmet demand. Looking ahead, improving attitudes and raising understanding, encouraging collaboration and making progress towards innovation in the industry will support the growth of businesses of all sizes—and the economy—worldwide.

 

From Global Trade Liquidity Program /IFC

The Global Trade Liquidity Program (GTLP) is a unique, coordinated global initiative that brings together governments, development finance institutions (DFIs), and private sector banks to support trade in developing markets and address the shortage of trade finance resulting from the global financial crisis.

With targeted commitments of $4 billion from public sector sources, the program has supported nearly $20 billion of trade since its inception. It raises funds from international finance and development institutions, governments, and banks, and it works through global and regional banks to extend trade finance to importers and exporters in developing countries. IFC’s commitment to the program is $1 billion.

GTLP began its operations in May 2009, channeling much-needed funds to back trade in developing countries. Phase 2 was launched in January 2010 with an unfunded solution, based on the existing GTLP platform, to support trade finance directed at the food and agribusiness sectors. The program was extended in January 2012 to continue to stabilize and foster trade and commodity finance to emerging markets.

Since its launch, GTLP has been acknowledged in the financial industry as an innovative structure to help infuse much needed liquidity into the trade finance market, thereby catalyzing global trade growth. The solution also represents a win-win proposition: for the banks it provides an opportunity to continue supporting clients through these difficult times; for IFC and its partners, it affords the ability to channel liquidity and credit into markets to help revitalize trade flows by leveraging on the banks’ vast networks across emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Latin America.

The program is already benefiting thousands of importers and exporters and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

 

From ADB Trade Finance Program

ADB’s Trade Finance Program (TFP) fills market gaps for trade finance by providing guarantees and loans to banks to support trade.

Backed by its AAA credit rating, ADB’s TFP works with over 200 partner banks to provide companies with the financial support they need to engage in import and export activities in Asia’s most challenging markets. With dedicated trade finance specialists and a response time of 24 hours, the TFP has established itself as a key player in the international trade community, providing fast, reliable, and responsive trade finance support to fill market gaps.

A substantial portion of TFP’s portfolio supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and many transactions occur either intra-regionally or between ADB’s developing member countries. The program supports a wide range of transactions, from commodities and capital goods to medical supplies and consumer goods.

The TFP continues to grow, supporting billions of dollars of trade throughout the region, which in turn helps create sustainable jobs and economic growth in Asia’s developing countries.

 

 

Key Terms:

  • IFC GTFP (Global Trade Finance Program)
  • IFC GTLP (Global Trade Liquidity Program)
  • IFC GTSF (Global Trade Supplier Finance)
  • IFC GWFP (Global Warehouse Finance Program)
  • SME ( Small and Medium Enterprises)
  • LC (Letter of Credit)
  • DC (Documentary Collections)
  • IFC ( International Finance Corporation)
  • WTO (World Trade Organization)
  • ADB (Asian Development Bank)
  • WB (World Bank)
  • MDB ( Multilateral Development Banks)
  • ECA (Export Credit Agency)
  • Structured Trade
  • Aid for Trade
  • SWIFT
  • BRICS NDB (New Development Bank)
  • ADB TFP (Trade Finance Program)

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

Global Trade Liquidity Program

IFC

http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/Industry_EXT_Content/IFC_External_Corporate_Site/Industries/Financial+Markets/Trade+and+Supply+Chain/GTLP/

 

 

Trade Finance Program

ADB

https://www.adb.org/site/trade-finance-program

 

 

EXPORTS AND FINANCIAL SHOCKS

Mary Amiti David E. Weinstein

http://www.etsg.org/ETSG2010/papers/amiti.pdf

 

 

Why Boosting the Availability of Trade Finance Became a Priority during the 2008–09 Crisis

Jean-Jacques Hallaert

 

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETTRADE/Resources/TradeFinancech14.pdf

 

 

International Trade, Risk, and the Role of Banks

Friederike Niepmann Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

September 2013

Revised November 2014

 

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr633.pdf

 

 

International Trade Risk and the Role of Banks

Niepmann, Friederike and Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

2015

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/ifdp/2015/files/ifdp1151.pdf

 

 

 

Trade finance: developments and issues

Report submitted by a Study Group established by the Committee on the Global Financial System

The Group was chaired by John J Clark, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

January 2014

 

http://www.bis.org/publ/cgfs50.pdf

 

 

Trade finance and SMEs

WTO

 

https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/tradefinsme_e.pdf

 

 

Improving the Availability of Trade Finance during Financial Crises

Marc Auboin

Moritz Meier-Ewert

2003

https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/dis02_e.pdf

 

 

Trade Finance in Financial Crises: Assessment of Key Issues

December 9, 2003

 

http://www.imf.org/external/np/pdr/cr/2003/eng/120903.pdf

 

 

US Trade Finance Guide 2008

http://trade.gov/media/publications/pdf/tfg2008.pdf

 

 

ADDRESSING THE GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF TRADE FINANCE

Doina Buruiana, Project Manager at ICC Banking Commission

December 15, 2016

https://internationalbanker.com/finance/addressing-global-shortage-trade-finance/

 

 

Trade finance around the world

Friederike Niepmann, Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

11 June 2016

http://voxeu.org/article/trade-finance-around-world

 

 

The challenges of trade financing

Marc Auboin

28 January 2009

http://voxeu.org/article/challenges-trade-financing

 

 

The role of trade credit financing in international trade

Katharina Eck, Martina Engemann, Monika Schnitzer

20 April 2015

http://voxeu.org/article/role-trade-credit-financing-international-trade

 

 

The global financial crisis: A wake-up call for trade finance capacity building in emerging Asia

Wei Liu, Yann Duval

19 June 2009

http://voxeu.org/article/trade-finance-emerging-asian-economies

 

 

The role of bank guarantees in international trade

Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Friederike Niepmann

26 November 2014

http://voxeu.org/article/role-bank-guarantees-international-trade

 

 

Why does finance matter for trade? Evidence from new data

Marc Auboin, Martina Engemann

03 December 2012

http://voxeu.org/article/why-does-finance-matter-trade-evidence-new-data

 

 

Trade and Trade Finance in the 2008-09 Financial Crisis

Prepared by Irena Asmundson, Thomas Dorsey, Armine Khachatryan, Ioana Niculcea,

and Mika Saito

January 2011

http://www19.iadb.org/intal/intalcdi/PE/2011/07364.pdf

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2011/wp1116.pdf

 

 

 

Enhanced Attention for Trade Finance

Andrew Cornford

 

http://www.networkideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Trade_Finance.pdf

 

 

 

 

RETHINKING TRADE & FINANCE 2016

ICC Global Survey on Trade Finance

 

http://store.iccwbo.org/content/uploaded/pdf/ICC_Global_Trade_and_Finance_Survey_2016.pdf

 

 

2016 TRaDE FINaNCE GaPS, GROwTh, aND JObS SURvEY

 

alisa Di Caprio Ying Yao Steven beck Fahad Khan

ADB

 

https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/190631/trade-finance-gaps.pdf

 

 

Articles on Trade Finance

The Banker.com

http://www.thebanker.com/Transactions-Technology/Trade-Finance

 

 

2016 State of Supply Chain Finance Industry

 

http://www.seaburygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/2016-State-of-SCF-April-15.pdf

 

 

ICC Global Survey on Trade Finance

 

http://www.iccwbo.org/Products-and-Services/Trade-facilitation/ICC-Global-Survey-on-Trade-Finance/

 

 

 

 

TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT, 2016

UNCTAD

 

http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2016_en.pdf

 

 

No Guarantees, No Trade: How Banks Affect Export Patterns

Friederike Niepmann Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

2016

 

https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/ifdp/2016/files/ifdp1158.pdf

 

 

Understanding Trade Finance: Theory and Evidence from Transaction-level Data

Jae Bin Ahn

International Monetary Fund

August, 2015

 

 

Off the Cliff and Back? Credit Conditions and International Trade during the Global Financial Crisis

Davin Chor Kalina Manova

2010

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/conference/2010/global/manova_presentation.pdf

http://www.nber.org/papers/w16174.pdf

 

 

Trade Finance during the Great Trade Collapse

Jean-Pierre Chauffour and Mariem Malouche

2011

 

http://econ.sciences-po.fr/sites/default/files/file/pmartin/Trade-Finance-finalpdf.pdf

 

 

Why Trade Finance matters for Trade

WTO/IFC

 

https://www.wto.org/english/forums_e/public_forum14_e/pf14wks_e/ifcwks3.pdf

 

 

TRADE FINANCE IN PERIODS OF CRISIS: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED IN RECENT YEARS?

Marc Auboin and Martina Engemann

2013

https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ersd201301_e.pdf

 

 

Global Finance Names The World’s Best Trade Finance Providers 2016

https://www.gfmag.com/media/press-releases/global-finance-names-worlds-best-trade-finance-providers-2016

https://www.gfmag.com/magazine/february-2016/worlds-best-trade-finance-providers-2016-table-contents

 

 

The Trade Finance Business of U.S. Banks

Friederike Niepmann and Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

MAY 19, 2014

http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2014/05/the-trade-finance-business-of-us-banks.html

 

 

Why U.S. Exporters Use Letters of Credit

Friederike Niepmann and Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

2014

http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2014/05/why-us-exporters-use-letters-of-credit.html

 

 

WHAT DRIVES BANK-INTERMEDIATED TRADE FINANCE? EVIDENCE FROM CROSS-COUNTRY ANALYSIS 

José María Serena Garralda

Garima Vasishtha

2015

http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/15/Fich/dt1524e.pdf

 

 

The impact of Basel III on trade finance

Author: Bc. Jana Malešová

Masters Thesis

 

 

 

The Withdrawal of Correspondent Banking Relationships: A Case for Policy Action

Prepared by Michaela Erbenová, Yan Liu, Nadim Kyriakos-Saad, Alejandro López-Mejía, Giancarlo Gasha, Emmanuel Mathias, Mohamed Norat, Francisca Fernando, and Yasmin Almeida1

2016

 

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2016/sdn1606.pdf

 

 

Leveraging Supply Chain Finance for Development

Alexander R. Malaket

September 2015

 

http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/E15-Finance-Malaket-final.pdf

 

 

 

Trade Finance: A Catalyst for Asian Growth

Claude Lopez

2015

 

https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/66250/1/MPRA_paper_66250.pdf

 

 

 

Trade Flows in Developing Countries: What is the Role of Trade Finance?

 

Clara Brandi Birgit Schmitz

 

https://www.die-gdi.de/uploads/media/DP_13.2015.pdf

 

 

Financing Global Development: The Potential of Trade Finance

http://www.good-governance-debates.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/13_BP_10.2015.pdf