Essays in asset management and corporate bonds
In the first essay of this dissertation, I study the impact of fund redemptions and resulting sell-offs on corporate bond yields. To control for unobserved changes in fundamentals, I study within-issuer variation of yield changes, resulting from differential exposure to redemptions and sell-offs. In contrast to previous findings for equity funds, I find no evidence indicating that bond funds destabilize the corporate bond market by moving prices beyond fundamental values. I attribute this finding to bond fund management. Although I find that investors demonstrate a bank-run like behavior, which is a potential source of destabilization, bond fund managers hold a significant level of liquid assets, allowing them to manage redemptions without excessively liquidating corporate bonds. Second essay of this dissertation looks at corporate bond Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which are a new form of financial innovation. Since these investment vehicles are relatively new, little is known about their risks. In this paper, we study an event in the summer 2013, knows as the Taper Tantrum, when bond ETFs and mutual funds experienced massive unexpected outflows due to speculations about interest rate hikes. We find that ETF outflows during the Taper Tantrum lead to a significant increase in exposed corporate bond yields. The increase in yields lasts for seven months, which indicates a temporary fire sale effect. In contrast, we find no fire sale effect resulting from mutual fund outflows. We attribute this contrasting finding between the two vehicles to differences in portfolio construction and investor sensitivities. Finally, we study arbitrage opportunities, created by ETF shares mispricing, and their impact on bond yields. Third essay of this dissertation is about liquidity in the corporate bond market. In market distress, corporate bond investors tend to sell liquid assets and hold onto illiquid ones, a phenomenon which we call flight to illiquidity. We study the impact of flight to illiquidity on corporate bond prices/yields in cross-section as well as corporate bond returns in time-series. First, we show that liquidity price premium disappears in market distress, meaning that liquid bonds are not more expensive than illiquid bonds in distress times. Second, we show that illiquiduity return premium which exists during normal times, not only does not change sign or disappears, but also widens in market distress. In other words, liquid bonds deliver a lower return both on average and during market distress. This pattern is limited to investment grade corporate bonds. Our findings suggest that keeping the credit risk fixed, liquid bonds do not provide safety during the time it is needed the most.