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Since the beginning of the global economic crisis, investors have flocked to bond funds, and especially corporate bond funds, viewing them as the “safest” vehicles for their capital. However, bond funds are subject to fragilities originating from the first-mover advantage problem: when investors cash out, the cost of compensating them amplifies the funds’ price decline, making it costlier for other investors to remain. Moreover, three other conditions—general market illiquidity, lower fund liquidity, and the prevalence of retail investors—accentuate the financial fragility of corporate bond funds. Academic research shows that when corporate bond fund managers have to trade illiquid corporate bonds after investors redeem shares en masse, the subsequent demand shock in the secondary bond market results predictably in significant negative effects to the real economy. This brief looks at the fragility of corporate bond funds and offers policy options to combat these conditions and mitigate their wider effects.
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corporate bond, funds, first time movers, fragility
Goldstein, Itay, "Where Have All the Investment Dollars Gone? A Brief on the Developments and Potential Fragility in Corporate Bond Funds" (2015). Wharton Public Policy Initiative Issue Briefs. 35.