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International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns

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  • Peter Kugler
  • Beatrice Weder

Abstract

This paper revisits the puzzle of low returns on Swiss Franc assets using a new data set of portfolio holdings of residents and non residents at Swiss banks. The main findings are as follows. First, we find that the return anomaly is present only for fixed income assets and not for equity. Second, it is mostly due to a long run deviation from uncovered interest rate parity, not a deviation from purchasing power parity. Third, it is unlikely that foreign demand for Swiss assets (possibly due to banking secrecy) is driving down returns: This demand is quantitatively small especially for Swiss Franc fixed income instruments. A dynamic factor analysis confirms that foreign demand had almost no impact on Swiss Franc asset prices. Finally, we propose a new explanation for low returns on Swiss fixed income assets, namely the diversification benefits offered by these instruments. Applying reversed portfolio optimization to back out the implied returns reveals that the estimated pattern of this returns conforms very well with the observed pattern.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Kugler & Beatrice Weder, 2004. "International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(III), pages 301-325, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2004-iii-2
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    2. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "The Implications of Dark Matter for Assessing the US External Imbalance," CID Working Papers 137, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    3. Jean-Pierre Danthine & Samuel Danthine, 2018. "On the rewards to international investing: a safe haven currency perspective," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 154(1), pages 1-12, December.
    4. Drobetz, Wolfgang & Pensa, Pascal & Wöhle, Claudia B., 2004. "Kapitalstrukturtheorie in Theorie und Praxis: Ergebnisse einer Fragebogenuntersuchung," Working papers 2004/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    5. Kleiber Christian & Zeileis Achim, 2013. "Reproducible Econometric Simulations," Journal of Econometric Methods, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 89-99, July.
    6. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," CID Working Papers 124, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. Marco Tronzano, 2022. "Optimal Portfolio Allocation between Global Stock Indexes and Safe Haven Assets: Gold versus the Swiss Franc (1999–2021)," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 15(6), pages 1-24, May.
    8. Jean-Pierre Danthine, 2017. "Taux négatifs: made for Switzerland," Working Papers halshs-01571650, HAL.
    9. Jean-Pierre Danthine, 2017. "Taux négatifs: made for Switzerland," Working Papers hal-01884328, HAL.
    10. Angelo Ranaldo & Paul Söderlind, 2010. "Safe Haven Currencies," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 385-407.
    11. Marco Tronzano, 2020. "Safe-Haven Assets, Financial Crises, and Macroeconomic Variables: Evidence from the Last Two Decades (2000–2018)," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-21, February.
    12. Christoph Sax & Rolf Weder, 2009. "How to Explain the High Prices in Switzerland?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(IV), pages 463-483, December.
    13. Kugler, Peter & Weder, Beatrice, 2005. "Why are Returns on Swiss Franc Asset so Low?," Working papers 2005/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    14. Niko Hauzenberger & Daniel Kaufmann & Rebecca Stuart & Cédric Tille, 2022. "What Drives Long-Term Interest Rates? Evidence from the Entire Swiss Franc History 1852-2020," IRENE Working Papers 22-03, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    15. Beatrice Weder & Rolf Weder, 2009. "Switzerland's Rise to a Wealthy Nation: Competition and Contestability as Key Success Factors," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2009-25, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Jean-Pierre Danthine, 2017. "Taux négatifs: made for Switzerland," Post-Print hal-01884328, HAL.
    17. Christoph Sax, 2006. "Interest Rates and Exchange Rate Movements: Analyzing Short-term Investments in Long-term Bonds," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 20(2), pages 205-220, June.
    18. Nicolas Stoffels & Cédric Tille, 2007. "Why are Switzerland's foreign assets so low? The growing financial exposure of a small open economy," Staff Reports 283, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    19. Mathias Hoffmann & Rahel Suter, 2010. "The Swiss Franc Exchange Rate and Deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity: Global vs Domestic Factors," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(I), pages 349-371, March.
    20. Ricardo Hausmann & Maya Horii & Federico Sturzenegger, 2008. "The growing current account surpluses in East Asia: the effect of dark matter assets," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 141-161.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Portfolio Choice; Asset Returns; Switzerland;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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