How to Improve the Swedish Corporate Bond Market

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: In late Mars 2020, Covid19was declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization.The following crisis negatively affected the overall economy and also the Swedish corporate bond market. Generally, corporate bonds have been described as secure investments during turbulent market conditions, but now they decreased in value rapidly. The sellpressure was of unprecedented measures and it became difficult and costly for companies to issue new corporate bonds in order to refinance operations. Meanwhile, it became difficult for investors to sell their holdings as the liquidity deteriorated. Shortly after, the Swedish National Bank declared the Swedish corporate bond market to be highly dysfunctional. Moreover, the Swedish National Bank and the Financial Supervisory Authority identified some characteristics of the Swedish corporate bond market that contributed to the severe market stress, namely; (1) Limited liquidity and a small market (2) Lacking transparency and unreliable price information (3) Most issuers lacking a credit rating (4) A homogeneous group of investors and (5) Real estate companies constituting a large share of total issuers. These characteristics are defined as the five areas of concern in this thesis. This qualitative study is based on interviews with market participants. The objective is to identify which area of concern should be prioritized in order to improve the Swedish corporate bond market and which improvement measure is deemed most effective. The results show that transparency is the area of concern that should be prioritized. Nevertheless, the new selfregulations that will be implemented July 1st, 2021 with the purpose to improve transparency is not deemed to be enough, but rather a step in the right direction. Therefore, an iterative process is suggested, continuously evaluating and adjusting, ensuring that transparency improves but not to such an extent that liquidity is negatively impacted.

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