The Treasury repo market is at the center of the U.S. financial system, serving as a source of secured funding as well as providing liquidity for Treasuries in the secondary market. Recently, results published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) raised concerns that the repo market may be dominated by as few as four banks. In this post, we show that the secured funding portion of the repo market is competitive by demonstrating that trading is not concentrated overall and explaining how the pricing of inter-dealer repo trades is available to a wide-range of market participants. By extension, rate-indexes based on repo trades, such as SOFR, reflect a deep market with a broad set of participants.
In a previous post, we showed that dealers sometimes enter into tri-party repo contracts to acquire excess funding capacity, and that this strategy is most prevalent for the agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and equity asset classes. In this post, we examine the maturity of the repos used to pursue this strategy and estimate the associated costs.
Security dealers sometimes enter into tri-party repo contracts to fund one class of securities with the expectation they will wind up settling the contract with higher quality securities.
In our earlier post, we described how the tri-party repo arrangement was a clever way to reduce the costs and risks that individual firms faced when settling bilateral repos.
The conventional wisdom about financial innovation is that it is typically undertaken as a way to increase profits.
Tri-party repo is popular among securities dealers as a way to raise short-term funding.
The repurchase agreement (repo), a contract that closely resembles a collateralized loan, is widely used by financial institutions to lend to each other.
The fragility inherent in the tri-party repo market came to light during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
On July 6, 2011, the Task Force on Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure—an industry group sponsored by the New York Fed—released a Progress Report in which it reaffirmed the goal of eliminating the wholesale “unwind” of repos (and the requisite extension of more than a trillion dollars of intraday credit by repo clearing banks), but acknowledged unspecified delays in achieving that goal. The “unwind” is the settlement of repos that currently takes place each morning and replaces credit from investors with credit from the clearing banks. As I explain in this post, by postponing settlement until the afternoon and thereby linking the settlement of new and maturing repos, the proposed new settlement approach could help stabilize the tri-party repo market by eliminating the incentive for investors to withdraw funds from a dealer simply because they believe other investors will do the same. In effect, eliminating the unwind can reduce the risk of the equivalent of bank runs in the repo market, or “repo runs.”
The tri-party repo market is a large and important market where securities dealers find short-term funding for a substantial portion of their own and their clients’ assets. The Task Force on Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure (Task Force) noted in its report that “(a)t several points during the financial crisis of 2007-2009, the tri-party repo market took on particular importance in relation to the failures and near-failures of Countrywide Securities, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers.” In this post, we provide an overview of this market and discuss several reforms currently under way designed to improve functioning of the market. A recent New York Fed staff report provides an in-depth description of the market.