Bond Funds and Credit Risk

Publication Date
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 857
Publication Date
Paul Woolley Centre Discussion Papers No 87
Publication Authors

We show that supply-side effects arising from the bond holdings of open-end mutual funds affect corporate credit risk. In our model, funds exposed to flow-performance relationships are reluctant to roll over bonds of companies with weak cash flow prospects fearing future outflows. This lowers rollover prices, enhancing equityholders’ strategic default incentives, engendering a positive association between bond funds’ presence and credit risk. Empirically, we find that in firms with weak cash flow prospects, fund holding shares increase CDS spreads, and more so when flows are more sensitive to performance. We use instrumental variables and quasi-experiments to address endogeneity concerns.