School of Business

Convergence and risk-return linkages across financial service firms

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Description: We examine the risk and return linkages across US commercial banks, securities firms, and life insurance companies during the 1991–2001 period. After controlling for changes in the broader stock market, interest rates, and foreign currency values, we find that return and risk interdependencies across these financial firms are significant and size-varying; larger institutions display stronger volatility transmission linkages, while smaller ones exhibit more prominent return-related linkages. The tighter link in risk among large financial institutions (FIs) suggests stronger convergence, employment of common models of risk measurement and risk management, and more intense inter-industry competition, particularly between large banks and large securities firms, compared to smaller institutions. Lack of risk spillover among smaller FIs confirms the intuition that they typically assume more localized and idiosyncratic risk. The co-movement of stock returns among smaller FIs has been helped by the effects of locally based factors, such as economic conditions and state regulations, on all such institutions, and a less diversified product set. Differences in spillover patterns between large and smaller institutions have implications on investment choices and mergers and acquisitions in the industry. Introduction of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (1999) has had dissimilar effects on the riskiness of large versus smaller life insurance and securities firms, and an insignificant effect on commercial banks.
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