Value Investing and Monetary Policy

Jason Zweig’s “The Bull Market Isn’t As Big as You Think” in The Wall Street Journal  nicely illustrates how the stock market may not be as disconnected from economic reality as many suspect. However, the piece misses the monetary elephant in the room.

Since the introduction of Quantitative Easing (QE), value investing only outperformed growth strategies during four brief moments – as measured by S&P Value and Growth Indexes (see http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/oped/Value_Investing_063020.pdf). 

Not surprisingly, the relative outperformance of value versus growth strategies coincided with periods when the Fed curtailed its injections of monetary liquidity: 1) the end of QE1, 2) end of QE2, 3) end of QE3, and 3) the period of quantitative tapering.

Although the monetary policy response to the Coronavirus was needed, unintended distortions should be acknowledged and incorporated into future actions.

The implication for value investors is clear.  Monetary largess is wreaking havoc with the investment strategy.  For the public and officials, the propagation of valuation distortions starve a wide spectrum of deserving companies and industries access to capital.  This will surely minimize private sector driven growth going forward.

View the report
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/oped/Value_Investing_063020.pdf

New Chairman: CFS Names William R. Rhodes Chairman of the Advisory Board

PRESS RELEASE

THE CENTER FOR FINANCIAL STABILITY
NAMES WILLIAM R. RHODES CHAIRMAN OF ADVISORY BOARD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, New York- June 29, 2020) 

The Center for Financial Stability (“CFS”), today, announced the appointment of William R. Rhodes as the first Chairman of the Organization’s distinguished Advisory Board.

CFS is an independent, nonpartisan think tank focused on financial markets – with business lines presently segmented into the future of finance, data and analytics, policy, and technology.

“CFS’ innovative and practical approach, programs, and research position the organization as one of the world’s leading think tanks and a vital resource for the New York and international financial communities,” William Rhodes said.

Rhodes is an excellent choice to hold the distinct title, as he has been an active CFS participant over many years, leading roundtable discussions and moderating panels of prominent leaders.  He also delivered a seminal “Bretton Woods 2014 – Founders of the Future” keynote dinner address at the Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire, which was exclusively available for the CFS conference, just as it was in 1944.  An invite-only, guest list which included world leaders from government, business, and academia in a working-group environment to focus on the future of finance and the international monetary system.

“We are thrilled that Bill is our first Chairman of the CFS Advisory Board.  His sustained leadership in finance and public policy is legendary – for his understanding of diverse interests across private institutions and nations as well as his ability to act.  At this time of global risks and crises, Bill’s insights and success will meaningfully magnify CFS’s work in risk management, crisis prevention, and policy,” said Lawrence Goodman, founder and President of the Center for Financial Stability.

William Rhodes is an American banker and philanthropist. He is former Chairman, CEO, and president of Citibank and senior vice chairman of Citigroup. He served in various senior executive positions at Citi from 1957 until his retirement from Citigroup on April 30, 2010. He gained worldwide reputation for international financial diplomacy in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000’s as a result of his leadership in helping manage the external-debt crises that involved developing nations and their creditors worldwide. During that period and in the 1990s, he headed the advisory committees of international banks that negotiated debt-restructuring agreements for Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua, and Iraq. In 1998, when the Republic of Korea experienced liquidity problems, he chaired the international bank group that negotiated the extension of short-term debt of the Korean banking system. In early 1999, at the request of the government of Brazil, he acted as worldwide coordinator to help implement the maintenance of trade and interbank lines by foreign commercial banks to Brazil. He has since served as a trusted advisor to governments, financial officials, and corporations worldwide.

He is the director of the Private Export Funding Corporation; chairman emeritus of the U.S.-Korea Business Council; vice-chairman of the National Committee on U.S. – China Relations; a director of the Korea Society;  a member of the Chairman’s advisory council and senior fellow of The Hudson Institute; a member of the Board at the Foreign Policy Association; and a former trustee of the Economic Club of New York.  He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Group of Thirty, and the Advisory Council of the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Rhodes is a member of the Board of Directors of the Volcker Alliance, a member of the European-American Chamber of Commerce New York and a member of the Executive Committee, Bretton Woods Committee Board of Directors.  He is the first vice-chairman emeritus of the Institute of International Finance and Chairman emeritus of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. He previously served as Chairman of the New York Blood Center, the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, and the U.S. Hong Kong Business Council.

William Rhodes is a life trustee of The New York-Presbyterian Hospital; a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Business Committee and Chairman’s Council, and chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the Northfield Mount Hermon School. He has received decorations and honors from various governments and institutions, including an honorary doctorate in humane letters from his alma mater Brown University, where he established the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance; a member of Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University; Officer and Chevalier of France’s Legion of Honor; decorations from Poland, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Jamaica; and multiple awards from not-for-profit organizations such as the Africa-America Institute, Arab Bankers Association of North America, the America-Israel Friendship League and Sciences Po Foundation, Pro Mujer, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boy’s Scouts Award in recognition of his contributions to international banking and finance.

He authored the book BANKER TO THE WORLD:  Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance.  The book is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, and a separate edition published by Tata in India and the Sub-continent. The book has two editions in English and Spanish.

The Center for Financial Stability was created before financial stability became widely recognized as an essential factor in central banking and policy.  CFS has successfully and consistently anticipated future financial market trends over the years with an ahead-of-their-time approach to the early identification of financial risks.  CFS has developed data and analysis to improve the study of financial markets.  CFS maintains a global reach with participants from over 187 of the 195 countries in the world.  CFS prides itself on integrity, long-term relationships, and independence. 

#              #              #                       

Media Contact:

Brigitte Rudman
212.626.2660
brudman@the-cfs.org

New ETF Resource for Investors, Officials, and the Public

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are at the forefront of the shift from active to passive investment management styles.  Hence, ETFs now represent a large swath of the financial asset landscape. To be sure, ETFs provide outstanding vehicles to express views across a wide range of asset classes. Yet, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York created a special Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) to purchase ETFs and some fear underlying systemic risks.

CFS recently conducted a survey of highly knowledgeable participants in academia, investment management and banking.  The results were clear.  More knowledge of ETFs and their impact on the financial system is vital.

The Center for Financial Stability ETF library represents a first step to support and publicize the most thoughtful research and ideas regarding the market structure, risks, and policy.  The Library is divided into two sections 1) Analysis of Risks and Markets and 2) Policy and Regulation.

Access the ETF Library through the main menu on our homepage or www.centerforfinancialstability.org/ETFs.php

We invite you to submit original pieces or material to be considered for posting to Brigitte Rudman at brudman@the-cfs.org

Financial Timeline: 13 years of Official and Market Action

The CFS Financial Timeline, created and managed by senior fellow Yubo Wang, is likely the longest continuous financial timeline freely available. It covers over 1,300 international events from early 2007 to the present. The timeline curates essential inputs from established public sources to seamlessly link financial markets, financial institutions, and public policies.

The CFS Financial Timeline has become an integral part of the work done by scholars, students, government officials, and market analysts, who seek to:

  • Uncover relationships among market reactions, institutional activities, and public policies
  • Accurately analyze developments, in one place, as they happen,
  • Put current events in a historical context, and gain insights on future developments.

View the Timeline at:
http://centerforfinancialstability.org/timeline.php

FT Letter: The faultlines of the crisis are complex and varied

Today my letter in the FT responds to Martin Wolf’s “Coronavirus crisis lays bare the risks of financial leverage, again.”  Martin clearly highlights segments in capital markets creating fragilities before the recent shock.

The role of central bank policy distorting incentives in 2019 was absent.  Skewed investing incentives began on December 18, 2018 – when the FOMC statement misread the global economy and markets and balance sheet expansion resumed.

“The faultlines of the crisis are complex and varied”
https://www.ft.com/content/48e41d0c-8bb4-11ea-a01c-a28a3e3fbd33

For more on Fed policy and markets after December 18, 2018 – see pages 5-6 of my Boston Economic Club remarks
http://centerforfinancialstability.org/speeches/BEC_Now_What_031820.pdf

CFS Money Growth Soars to double digits

CFS Divisia money growth soared across the board with broad money expanding at a double-digit pace in March (10.0%) – for the swiftest gain since October 2008 (10.6%). CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 10.0% in March 2020 on a year-over-year basis versus 7.2% in February.

Large infusions of Federal Reserve liquidity led to the largest gain in narrow money since the start of our data begins in 1967. Here, CFS Divisia M1 advanced by 15.1% in March from the year earlier, relative to a scant increase of 1.0% in March 2019 over the preceding year. The second largest increase in the history of CFS Divisa M1 occurred in August 2011 in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis during the height of QE.

An odd mix exists between gigantic infusions of Federal Reserve liquidity and agents in the economy flocking to safety.

Lastly, the inflation versus deflation debate will become more nuanced as time elapses. To be sure, disinflation will dominate in the near term with jobless claims hitting highs and oil prices likely to remain low for an extended period of time. Nonetheless, the passthrough from monetary policy into inflation is meaningfully more complex than often thought. My remarks at the Society of Economic Measurement conference in Thessaloniki shed some light on the interplay between CFS Divisia Money and inflation over time – http://centerforfinancialstability.org/research/why_cfs_divisia_071316.pdf

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Mar20.pdf

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) ALLX DIVM
2) ECST T DIVMM4IY
3) ECST –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

Now What? Three Vectors for Investors and Officials

In the middle of financial crises, one often hears “Now What?”

At the Boston Economic Club, I discussed the evolution of three vectors (policy, markets, and the Coronavirus). These vectors offer officials a blueprint to stabilize markets and asset managers a roadmap for investment decisions. To be sure, the Coronavirus is only part of the reason behind the fierce market response.

Six big “Now Whats” or action items are discussed.

For full remarks:
http://centerforfinancialstability.org/speeches/BEC_Now_What_031820.pdf

WSJ: Positive Revival of Agency that Aids Exporters (Exim)

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) for seven years.

– The move represents a positive step forward to enhance economic growth, financial stability, and national security.

– Exim’s educational opportunities and finance unleash meaningful network effects. Once small and medium sized companies overcome obstacles to exporting, new markets open.

– Conservative critics are justifiably worried about heavy-handed “industrial policy.” Yet, Exim activities fall far short of a well-intention public sector misallocating resources.

Congratulations to Chairman Kimberly Reed and Exim for the hard work and reforms needed to safeguard US financial and strategic interests!

Issing: Memorandum on the ECB’s Monetary Policy

We thank Otmar Issing for sending a recent “Memorandum on the ECB’s Monetary Policy” in response to CFS distributions. To be sure, the broad content of the message was covered in the financial press. However, meaningful nuances and details are only apparent with a full read. Hence, it may be of interest to CFS friends.

Signed by:
Hervé Hannoun, Former First Deputy Governor, Banque de France, Paris
Otmar Issing, Former Member of the ECB-Executive Board, Würzburg
Klaus Liebscher, Former Governor Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Vienna
Helmut Schlesinger, Former President Deutsche Bundesbank, Oberursel
Jürgen Stark, Former Member of the ECB-Executive Board, Frankfurt
Nout Wellink, Former Governor De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam

Judgement shared by:
Jacques de Larosière, Former Governor Banque de France, Paris
Christian Noyer, Former Governor Banque deFrance, Paris

The full memorandum is available at
www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/Memorand.pdf

Wishing you the best into the Holiday Season and New Year!

Hormats and Istel on Inequality and Low Rates

CFS is delighted to share Robert Hormats and Yves-Andre Istel’s personal views on “Inequality Perils from Lower Rates.” They contend that:

  • Low interest rate policies have become increasingly ineffective in fostering equitable growth.
  • Negative effects of ultra‐low rates have been underestimated and are greater than generally thought, especially in increasing inequality.
  • Therefore, a new mix of monetary/fiscal policies with a long-term structural focus is called for.

Yves and Bob have been thoughtful and engaged with CFS. Robert Hormats is the former Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Yves‐Andre Istel is a Senior Advisor to Rothschild & Co.

The full report is available at
www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/research/Hormats_Istel_121619.pdf