Hedging and trading activities of bank holding companies : analysis of foreign exchange derivatives accounts
Bank holding companies (BHCs) in the United States (US) have been recently required to report foreign exchange derivatives in two accounts. One account includes the foreign exchange derivatives held for trading while the other account contains the foreign exchange derivatives held for purposes other than trading. The objective of this study is to examine the factors that determine the sizes of these two accounts. We propose that the size of the securities portfolio held for purposes other than trading is an indicator of the magnitude of the hedging operations by a US BHC. In particular, we are interested in the portfolio of foreign exchange derivatives held for purposes other than trading and we refer to this portfolio as the foreign exchange derivatives hedging account. Our proposition is consistent with Adkins, Carter and Simpson (2007) who regard the securities that are held for purposes other than trading as primarily used for hedging purposes. Thus, we use the foreign exchange hedging account to study the foreign exchange hedging behavior of BHCs and determine the factors that influence the magnitudes of the foreign exchange hedging accounts. Hedging activities in general are very important for practitioners, regulators, and academics as evidenced by the extensive publicity and attention that has been given to interest rate risk and the extensive research that has been done to examine the factors that determine the magnitudes of interest rate hedging activities. Yet, little research has been devoted to examine the factors that determine the magnitudes of the foreign exchange hedging activities in US BHCs. One purpose of this study is to fill this gap in the literature. Similarly, we propose that the size of the trading account of a BHC is an indicator of the magnitude of the trading operations. These operations are attracting the attention of academics, regulators, and practitioners as they can generate significant revenues to BHCs but they are sources of significant risks. For example, much of the surprisingly high revenues reported by major US banks in the first and second quarters of 2009 are credited to trading operations while revenues from other activities were significantly low. On the other hand, trading activities are largely blamed for several catastrophic financial events such as the collapse of the Baring Bank PLC and the financial crisis of 2008 which nearly leads to the collapse of the global financial system. One objective of this study is to improve our understanding of the foreign exchange derivatives trading and the factors that influence the magnitudes of the foreign exchange trading accounts at US BHCs. Given the importance of the trading operations it is surprising that little research has been done in this area. The results of this study are derived from empirical data observed over the period from 1995 to 2007 inclusive. This data is obtained from the financial reports and statements of US BHCs. We use regression analysis to show that the notional amounts of the foreign exchange derivatives held in the hedging and trading accounts are related to various firm-specific and environmental factors. In particular, we argue that the net asset exposure, which measures the difference between the assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currency, and the net income exposure, which measures the difference between the interest income and interest expenses denominated in foreign currency, should be significant determinants of the notional amount of derivatives held in the hedging account. We propose that these two factors are indicators of a BHC’s exposure to foreign exchange fluctuations and hedging should be designed to offset their influence on the value of assets or level of income. In addition, we propose that a BHC’s size and level of capitalization affect the size of the hedging account. Similarly, we propose that the notional amount of foreign exchange derivatives held for trading should be related to the same factors. In particular, we argue that the notional amount of derivatives in the trading account is related to the net asset exposure and the net income exposure as they indicate a BHC’s involvement in international operations such as lending, deposit taking, risk management, and correspondent relationships in foreign countries. In our opinion, the larger the involvement in international operations the larger is a BHC’s ability to trade foreign exchange derivatives. This study makes several unique contributions. First, it shows that the net asset exposure and the net income exposure have positive and significant effects on both the hedging and the trading accounts. Second, we show that the capital ratio and the magnitude of the hedging and trading accounts are positively and significantly related. In addition, this study confirms that the magnitude of total assets is a positive and significant determinant of BHCs’ foreign exchange derivative securities held in either the hedging or the trading accounts. This result is consistent with previous studies such as Carter and Sinkey (1998), Brewer, Jackson and Moser (2001), Adkins, Carter and Simpson (2007), and Hassan and Khasawneh (2009).
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentFinance and Management Science
ProgramFinance and Management Science
SupervisorTannous, George; Mamun, Abdullah
CommitteeMishra, Dev; Racine, Marie; Ursel, Nancy
Foreign Exchange Derivatives