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Anticipating the Financial Crisis: Evidence from Insider Trading in Banks

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  • Ozlem Akin
  • José M. Marín
  • José-Luis Peydró

Abstract

Banking crises are recurrent phenomena, often induced by ex-ante excessive bank risk-taking, which may be due to behavioral reasons (overoptimistic banks neglecting risks) and to agency problems between bank shareholders with debt-holders and taxpayers (banks understand high risktaking). We test whether US banks' stock returns in the 2007-08 crisis are related to bank insiders' sale of their own bank shares in the period prior to 2006:Q2 (the peak and reversal in real estate prices). We find that top-five executives' ex-ante sales of shares predicts the cross-section of banks returns during the crisis; interestingly, effects are insignificant for independent directors' and other officers' sale of shares. Moreover, the top-five executives' significant impact is stronger for banks with higher ex-ante exposure to the real estate bubble, where an increase of one standard deviation of insider sales is associated with a 13.33 percentage point drop in stock returns during the crisis period. The informational content of bank insider trading before the crisis suggests that insiders understood the risk-taking in their banks, which has important implications for theory, public policy and the understanding of crises.

Suggested Citation

  • Ozlem Akin & José M. Marín & José-Luis Peydró, 2016. "Anticipating the Financial Crisis: Evidence from Insider Trading in Banks," Working Papers 906, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:906
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    Cited by:

    1. Martynova, Natalya & Ratnovski, Lev & Vlahu, Razvan, 2020. "Bank profitability, leverage constraints, and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    banking; financial crises; credit; macroeconomics and credit markets; monetary policy; international finance; public policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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