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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) identifies the current key vulnerabilities in the global financial system as the rise in corporate debt burdens, increasing holdings of riskier and more illiquid assets by institutional investors, and growing reliance on external borrowing by emerging and frontier market economies. The report proposes that policymakers mitigate these risks through stricter supervisory and macroprudential oversight of firms, strengthened oversight and disclosure for institutional investors, and the implementation of prudent sovereign debt management practices and frameworks for emerging and frontier market economies.

Mr. Luis Brandao-Marques
Chile has a large but relatively illiquid stock market. Global factors such as global risk appetite and monetary policy in advanced economies are key cyclical determinants of liquidity in Chilean equities. Evidence from a cross-section of emerging markets suggests strong protection of minority shareholders can help improve stock market liquitidity. Currently, illiquid in Chilean may have to pay 3½ percent more as cost of equity. Corporate governance should be improved, namely through the adoption of a stewardship code.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The current report finds that short-term risks to global financial stability have abated since April 2016, but that medium-term risks continue to build. Financial institutions in advanced economies face a number of cyclical and structural challenges and need to adapt to low growth and low interest rates, as well as to an evolving market and regulatory environment. Weak profitability could erode banks’ buffers over time and undermine their ability to support growth. A cyclical recovery will not resolve the problem of low profitability. More deep-rooted reforms and systemic management are needed, especially for European banks. The solvency of many life insurance companies and pension funds is threatened by a prolonged period of low interest rates. Corporate leverage in emerging market economies remains elevated in some countries, but the current favorable external environment presents an opportunity for overly indebted firms to restructure their balance sheets. The political climate is unsettled in many countries. A lack of income growth and a rise in inequality have opened the door for populist, inward-looking policies. These factors make it even harder to tackle legacy problems and further expose economies and markets to shocks. A potent and more balanced policy mix is needed to deliver a stronger path for growth and financial stability, and avoid slipping into a state of financial and economic stagnation. The report also examines how the rise of nonbank financing has altered the impact of monetary policy and finds that fears of a decline in the effectiveness of monetary policy are unfounded. It appears that the transmission of monetary policy is, if anything, stronger in economies with larger nonbank financial sectors. Finally, the report examines the link between corporate governance, investor protection, and financial stability in emerging market economies. It finds that the improvements over the past two decades have helped bolster the resilience of their financial systems. These benefits strengthen the case for further reform.

Mr. Andre O Santos
The objective of the paper is to assess ownership and control links in the GCC corporate sector. The analysis focuses on the integrated ownership and network arising from ownership data available in Bloomberg and GCC stock exchanges. The paper finds that ownership is concentrated in GCC public sector institutions, holding companies, financial institutions, and family groups. The paper then considers the effect of different definitions of control on the distribution of consolidated debt. Debt concentration is maximized when the wedge between ownership and control is the largest. This is the case when the largest shareholder has at least 5 percent of total shares as defined in Zingales (1994).
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This Selected Issues paper examines social spending reform and fiscal savings in Slovenia. Rising expenditure has been at the root of Slovenia’s fiscal deterioration since the onset of the crisis. The paper explores reform options to reduce Slovenia’s social spending over the medium and long term. It discusses key features of the pension system, and analyzes the evolution of pension spending in the absence of reforms. The paper also examines the health and education spending and provides a framework to assess their efficiency relative to other countries.

Rui Albuquerque, Mr. Luis Brandao-Marques, Miguel A. Ferreira, and Pedro Matos
We develop and test the hypothesis that foreign direct investment promotes corporate governance spillovers in the host country. Using firm-level data on cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and corporate governance in 22 countries, we find that cross-border M&As are associated with subsequent improvements in the governance, valuation, and productivity of the target firms’ local rivals. This positive spillover effect is stronger when the acquirer is from a country with stronger shareholder protection and if the target’s industry is more competitive. We conclude that the international market for corporate control promotes the adoption of better corporate governance practices around the world.
Yishay Yafeh, Mr. Kenichi Ueda, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
Financial frictions have been identified as key factors affecting economic fluctuations and growth. But, can institutional reforms reduce financial frictions? Based on a canonical investment model, we consider two potential channels: (i) financial transaction costs at the firm level; and (ii) required return at the country level. We empirically investigate the effects of institutions on these financial frictions using a panel of 75,000 firm-years across 48 countries for the period 1990 - 2007. We find that improved corporate governance (e.g., less informational problems) and enhanced contractual enforcement reduce financial frictions, while stronger creditor rights (e.g., lower collateral constraints) are less important.
Mr. Heiko Hesse and Tao Sun
This paper examines financial stability issues that arise from the increased presence of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in global financial markets by assessing whether and how stock markets react to the announcements of investments and divestments to firms by SWFs using an event study approach. Based on 166 publicly traceable events collected on investments and divestments by major SWFs during the period from 1990 to 2009, the paper evaluates the short-term financial impact of SWFs on selected public equity markets in which they invest. The impact is analyzed on different sectors (financial and nonfinancial), actions (buy and sell), market types (developed and emerging markets), and level of corporate governance (high and low score). Results, based on these 166 events, show that there was no significant destabilizing effect of SWFs on equity markets, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence.
Olatundun Janet Adelegan
This paper examines the impact of regional cross-listing on stock prices. The sample consists of sub- Saharan African firms that have cross-listed during the period 1992-2008. Using event study methodology, the study finds positive abnormal returns around the date of the regional cross-listing of stocks. The positive announcement period effect, together with the normal post cross-listing performance, shows that regional cross-listing increases firm value. Overall, this provides evidence that firms benefit from listing outside their home market and need to be taken into consideration by SSA country authorities as they seek a regional approach to stock market development. Thus, policy makers of both the countries of primary listing (home country) and secondary listing (host country) need the right policy handles to conceptualize, facilitate and steer regional cross-listing efforts by firms. Through complementary policy-based efforts, policy makers can set the stage for regional cross-listings and harness the numerous related benefits.