15 Jan 2015

How High Should Interest Rates Go?

As recently as Christmas Eve, the market believed that there was a 92.4 percent chance that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in 2015. The probability is based on prices for Federal Funds futures price contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). In the first few weeks of this year, I started hearing market chatter that the Fed may have to push off raising interest rates until 2015… Read More

12 Jan 2015

Finally, A Regulation You Can Opt-Out Of

In the December 2012 issue of ALM Insights, I wrote an article titled Basel III’s AFS Provision. At the time of the article, the provision detailing the effects of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (AOCI) on regulatory capital had been delayed due to a “wide range of views”, and the final outcome was still very much up in the air. Few in the banking industry thought that forcing banks of all… Read More

9 Jan 2015

Inflation Expectations in 2015

In my judgment, the biggest stories of 2014 were falling interest rates and oil prices. I’ve written that most people expected interest rates to rise and no one expected a major drop in oil prices. The combination of those two things, plus the unexpected rise in the U.S. dollar (a big story, but not as big as the first two) means that inflation expectations have fallen dramatically in the U.S…. Read More

18 Dec 2014

ALM Insights – December 2014

ALM Insights is focused on banks and other institutions that use their portfolio to manage risk on both sides of their balance sheet. It takes an in-depth look at securities investment strategies, balance sheet and asset/liability strategies, regulatory topics and general economic information. To view this issue, click the image below. In This Issue: King Dollar Finally, A Regulation You Can Opt-Out Of Reading The Tea Leaves

30 Oct 2014

Federal Reserve Ends Quantitative Easing

During the 2008 financial crisis, Warren Buffet compared the US economy to a heart attack victim lying flat on the floor. Buffet’s analogy has continued to be a useful analogy as the Federal Reserve pumped medicine into the economy in the form of buying bonds on the open market in a program known as quantitative easing, or simply QE. That program came to an end yesterday, so you could carry… Read More

21 Oct 2014

Lower for Longer

One of the interesting implications of the recent selloff in stocks and rally in bonds is that investors have quickly shifted gears regarding when they think that the Federal Reserve will begin to raise interest rates. Right now, the market expects the Fed to announce that they will end their bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, at their meeting on October 29th. There has been some scuttlebutt that the Fed… Read More

22 Sep 2014

What if You Called The Bond Market Perfectly?

It’s an interesting question. The ability to call the tops and bottoms with perfect accuracy is considered the “holy grail” of bond market investing. We spend a great deal of effort talking to clients about the risk of trying to make speculative calls – the risk of being wrong of course. Just as an exercise I thought it would be neat to imagine what it would be like if we… Read More

20 Sep 2014

Why Aren’t Interest Rates Higher?

With a lot of focus being put on the coming end to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing campaign, this article will delve into some of the other factors impacting interest rates in the US. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has maintained a steady course ever since Chairman Bernanke first hinted at the end of quantitative easing in the spring of 2013. The “Taper” which is scheduled to complete this… Read More

17 Sep 2014

ALM Insights – September 2014

ALM Insights is focused on banks and other institutions that use their portfolio to manage risk on both sides of their balance sheet. It takes an in-depth look at securities investment strategies, balance sheet and asset/liability strategies, regulatory topics and general economic information. To view this issue, click the image below. In This Issue: What if You Called The Market Perfectly? The Impact of Fed Tightening Why Aren’t Interest Rates Higher?

9 Jul 2014

When Interest Rates Rise

With the Federal Reserve now unwinding their bond purchasing program known as quantitative easing, it’s likely that the Fed will start to raise short-term interest rates at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 (assuming no new information). Now that we ‘know’ that the Fed will raise rates, what will happen when interest rates rise?  The short answer is that it depends.  I know that’s an unsatisfying answer,… Read More