The impact of options listing and trading on the cost of debt capital

2017-03-01T01:02:54Z (GMT) by khedmati, Mehdi
The existing literature on options listing and trading volume has focused on the benefits of trading in options to shareholders only, arguing that stock options listing and subsequent trading volume improve the informational environment of equity market. While debt capital is a major part of firms’ capital structure, the cost of debt capital implications of options listing and trading volume has been overlooked in the literature. Again, the extant literature shows that much of the benefits that shareholders might receive from options listing and trading volume stems from the informational advantage arising from increased trading by informed investors who possess private information in optioned firms compared to firms without listed options and increased activities of information intermediaries. This informational advantage should also benefit the lenders of the firms because options listing and trading volume facilitate access to more and higher quality information and also increase stock liquidity. Therefore, informational advantage of optioned firms should allow lenders to better assess the risk of default and facilitate more effective monitoring of debt agreements, which in return, lowers the rates of returns demanded by the lenders. Further, this informational advantage of options listing and options trading may be far more beneficial to lenders of young firms than old firms because young firms have shorter credit history in the market, thus, exposing their lenders to higher information asymmetry costs. This suggests that lenders could consider the age of borrowing firms as a risk factor when reacting to the informational advantages from options trading and deciding on the rate of return they demand on their lending. To empirically examine the above conjectures, I use three proxies of cost of debt capital comprising credit rating, interest rate on debt, and offering yield spread on new bond issues. My thesis documents the following main findings. First, the results show that all the three proxies used for cost of debt capital are negatively and statistically significantly associated with options listing. Second, the results from further tests on a restricted sample of firm-year observations with listed options show that all three proxies of cost of debt capital are negatively and statistically significantly associated with options trading volume. Third, the results of the analysis based on credit rating and interest rate proxies of cost of debt capital show that the reducing effect of options listing on the cost of debt capital gradually subsides over time, as firms accumulate a credit history in the capital market. Finally, the results of the analysis based on a restricted sample of firm-year observations with listed options and all three proxies of cost of debt capital show that that the reducing effect of options trading volume on the cost of debt capital gradually diminishes over time. The above results remain robust in most of the additional and robustness tests. My thesis contributes to the stream of literature that examines the effect of options listing and trading volume on the cost of capital by providing empirical evidence on the decreasing effect of options listing and options trading volume on the cost of debt capital. It also contributes to the extant literature on the determinants of the cost of debt capital by documenting that increased information quality stemming from options listing and trading volume is priced by lenders, i.e., they demand lower rate of return. Also, my thesis improves our understanding of the moderating influence of firm’s age on the ex ante effect of information asymmetry and quality, proxied by options listing and trading volume, on the cost of debt capital. The findings of this thesis would inform firm managers that they may be able to access cheaper debt if they can influence options exchanges to select their firm for options listing, and also would be insightful for options exchanges so as to understand the critical implications their selection decisions may have in terms of influencing the firms’ cost of debt capital.