A Troubled Asset Reverse Auction
The US Treasury has proposed purchasing $700 billion of troubled assets to restore liquidity and solve the current financial crisis, using market mechanisms such as reverse auctions where appropriate. This paper presents a high-level design for a troubled asset reverse auction and discusses the auction design issues. We assume that the key objectives of the auction are to: 1) provide a quick and effective means to purchase troubled assets and increase liquidity; 2) protect the taxpayer by yielding a price for assets related to their value; and 3) offer a transparent rules-based process that minimizes discretion and favoritism. We propose a two-part approach. Part 1. Groups of related securities are purchased in simultaneous descending clock auctions. The auctions operate on a security-by-security basis to avoid adverse selection. To assure that the auction for each security is competitive, the demand for each security is capped at the total quantity offered by all but the largest three sellers. Demand bids from private buyers are also allowed. The simultaneous clock auctions protect the taxpayer by yielding a competitive price for each security and allow bidders to manage liquidity constraints and portfolio risk. The resulting price discovery also improves the liquidity of the securities that are not purchased in the auctions. Part 2. Following Part 1, the remaining quantity is purchased in descending clock auctions in which many securities are pooled together. To minimize adverse selection, reference prices are calculated for each security from a model that includes all of the characteristics of each security including the market information revealed in the security-by-security auctions of Part 1. Bids in the pooled auctions are specified in terms of a percentage of the reference price for each security.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:||2008|
|Publication status:||Published in Working Paper, University of Maryland, September 2008|
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