DP17625 The Ring-Fencing Bonus
We study the impact of ring-fencing on bank risk using short-term repo rates. Exploiting confidential data on the near-universe of sterling-denominated repo transactions, we find compelling evidence that banking groups subject to ring-fencing are perceived to be safer; repo investors lend to ring-fenced groups at lower rates, controlling for bank characteristics and collateral risk. Ring-fenced groups charge more to supply liquidity. We show that these effects are driven by the ring fenced subsidiary; the other subsidiaries are not adversely impacted by ring fencing to any meaningful extent. We further document that the banking groups reduce their risk-taking after the imposition of the fence. Our paper suggests that structural reforms can have a significant beneficial impact on risk in the banking system.