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RESEARCH PAPERS | RISK MANAGEMENT


Cyber Attacks

CYBERSECURITY RISK
Chris Florackis, Christodoulos Louca, Roni Michaely, and Michael Weber
2022
Using textual analysis and comparing cybersecurity-risk disclosures of firms that were hacked to others that were not, we propose a novel firm-level measure of cybersecurity risk for all US-listed firms. We then examine whether cybersecurity risk is priced in the cross-section of stock returns. Portfolios of firms with high exposure to cybersecurity risk outperform other firms, on average, by up to 8.3% per year. At the same time, high-exposure firms perform poorly in periods of high cybersecurity risk. Reassuringly, the measure is higher in information-technology industries, correlates with characteristics linked to firms hit by cyberattacks, and predicts future cyberattacks. >more


Inflation Hedge

THE BEST STRATEGIES FOR INFLATIONARY TIMES
Henry Neville, Teun Draaisma, Ben Funnell, Campbell R. Harvey, and Otto Van Hemert
2021
Over the past three decades, a sustained surge in inflation has been absent in developed markets. As a result, investors face the challenge of having limited experience and no recent data to guide the repositioning of their portfolios in the face of heighted inflation risk. We provide some insight by analyzing both passive and active strategies across a variety of asset classes for the U.S., U.K., and Japan over the past 95 years. Unexpected inflation is bad news for traditional assets, such as bonds and equities, with local inflation having the greatest effect. Commodities have positive returns during inflation surges but there is considerable variation within the commodity complex. Among the dynamic strategies, we find that trend-following provides the most reliable protection during important inflation shocks. Active equity factor strategies also provide some degree of hedging ability. We also provide analysis of alternative asset classes such as fine art and discuss the economic rationale for including cryptocurrencies as part of a strategy to protect against inflation. >more


Climate Risk

FIRM-LEVEL CLIMATE CHANGE EXPOSURE
Zacharias Sautner, Laurence van Lent, Grigory Vilkov, and Ruishen Zhang
2021
We introduce a method that identifies climate change exposure from earnings conference calls of 10,158 firms from 34 countries. The method adapts a machine learning keyword discovery algorithm and captures exposures related to opportunity, physical, and regulatory shocks associated with climate change. The exposure measures exhibit cross-sectional and time-series variations that align with reasonable priors, and these measures are better at capturing firm-level variation than are carbon intensities or ratings. The exposure measures capture economic factors that prior work has identified as important correlates of climate change exposure. In recent years, exposure to regulatory shocks negatively correlates with firm valuations. >more


Currency Risk

UNDERSTANDING THE PRICING OF CURRENCY RISK IN GLOBAL EQUITY MARKETS
George Andrew Karolyi, and Ying Wu
2021
This paper explores potential economic mechanisms through which fluctuations in exchange rates are priced in international stock returns. Our investigation focuses on two currency risk factors – a dollar-risk factor and a carry-trade-risk factor – and their explanatory power for a variety of test assets comprised of monthly returns for over 47,000 stocks from 46 countries and over four decades. We find that currency risk is more likely to be priced among firms producing tradeable goods, and especially during periods of sudden exchange rate fluctuations. The divergent evolution is robust with respect to the evaluating criteria on firm internationalization, the benchmark factor models chosen, the sub-periods examined, and the test asset portfolios assessed. >more


ESG Risks

ESG AND DOWNSIDE RISKS: IMPLICATIONS FOR PENSION FUNDS
Zacharias Sautner, and Laura T. Starks
2021
Due to their long-term horizons, pension funds face enhanced exposures to the long-lived effects of many ESG risks. Moreover, given the potential consequences of being underfunded, pension funds are particularly exposed to ESG-related downside risks, especially those related to climate change. We discuss the implications of these risks and provide evidence on institutional investors’ perspectives on climate-related downside risks and how these risks are priced in financial markets. We also document how institutional investors address climate risks in the investment process, with a focus on the role of engagement versus divestment. >more


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