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Asymmetric Information and the Foreign-Exchange Trades of Global Custody Banks

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Abstract

This paper provides the first rigorous empirical analysis of markups on custodial foreign exchange trades. It finds that they substantially exceed relevant benchmarks such as interbank half-spreads. We trace this to an information asymmetry -- custodial bank dealers know more about their prices and bid-ask spreads than their client funds. We also examine the asset managers' continued heavy reliance on this high-cost approach to trading when alternatives are available with lower markups. We provide evidence that this choice does not reflect ignorance of the cost differential. Analysis relies on the complete foreign exchange trading record of a mid-sized global custody bank during calendar year 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Osler & Thang Nguyen & Tanseli Savaser, 2011. "Asymmetric Information and the Foreign-Exchange Trades of Global Custody Banks," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2011-09
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    Cited by:

    1. Semyon Malamud & Andreas Schrimpf, 2016. "Intermediation Markups and Monetary Policy Passthrough," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 16-75, Swiss Finance Institute.
    2. Semyon Malamud & Andreas Schrimpf, 2016. "Intermediation Markups and Monetary Policy Passthrough," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 16-75, Swiss Finance Institute.
    3. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carol Osler & Xuhang Wang, 2012. "The Microstructure of Currency Markets," Working Papers 49, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

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    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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