NBER short selling study finds Asensio to be the Pioneer of the “information arbitrage” field.

NBERS STUDY – HOW CONSTRAINING ARE LIMITS TO ARBITRAGE

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In January 2014 the National Bureau of Economic Research, [“NBER”] the nation’s leading nonprofit economic research organization, published a behavioral finance article titled “How Constraining Are Limits to Arbitrage? Evidence from a Recent Financial Innovation.”  The study identifies a “recent class of short sellers” and found that Manuel P. Asensio of Asensio & Company is the “pioneer” of this class short selling called short selling “arbitrage.”  The study also found that Asensio & Company’s short targets experienced the largest price correction among this  during the study’s timeframe.   The study defines this recent class of arbitrage short seller as “information producers as arbitrageurs rather than as short-sellers, to distinguish them from uninformed short-sellers in the market.”

The study describes a “recent financial innovation that allows limits to arbitrage to be sidestepped, and overvaluation thereby to be corrected” even in settings characterized by extreme costs of information discovery and severe short-sale constraints or limits.  Limits “interfere with arbitrage processes so that security prices can deviate from true values for extended periods of time” and include costs of discovering a mispriced security, the costs of the resources needed to exploit a mispricing and short-sale constraints and the risk that mispricing could get worse, forcing early liquidation of a position at a loss.  Limits mentioned in the study also include “sophisticated public relations campaigns against shorts” and targets that “put pressure on their shareholders to recall stock out on loan, to put a squeeze on short sellers.” Yet the study found that short selling arbitrage can succeed in correcting mispricing and generate cumulative abnormal profits “even in this uninviting setting.”

The study “arbitrageurs” expend considerable resources to identify overvalued companies and profitably correct overpricing.  It notes that short selling arbitrageurs reveal their information publicly as a way to sidestep the so-called limits and found evidence that “revealing the information voluntarily and thereby accelerating price discovery reduces the risk of the arbitrage strategy and sidesteps the arbs’ limited-resource constraint.”

The study found that “[f]or this strategy to work, critical that the information the arbs reveal to the market is credible – or else the longs will ignore it. We observe that the arbs in our sample argue their case by way of highly detailed reports which they post publicly and for free.  Compared to reports published by sell-side equity analysts at investment banks, which have a tendency to be both optimistic and biased.”

The study contributes to the “growing literature on the role of short sellers in producing and transmitting information in capital markets. There is little prior evidence on what short sellers know and how they acquire information. Our unique data allow us to observe the information discovery process at the level of individual information producers and to study how the information the arbs discover is then incorporated in security prices.”

The study found the short seller arbitrageur evidence ‘illustrates why financial markets need short sellers to function well. While some short sellers may indeed be speculators who do little more than destabilize share prices, as is often alleged, the short sellers in our sample are information producers who help correct mispricing and thereby help make markets more efficient. This is all the more remarkable given that many targets in our sample were held by highly sophisticated investors who apparently did not spot the overvaluation until it was too late.”

As stated above, the study found that the “pioneer is Manuel Asensio of Asensio & Co., which was founded in 1992 and started publishing reports on overvalued companies in 1994” and that “Asensio & Co.’s reports yield the highest returns’ by the study’s measure and during the study’s timeframe.

Founded in 1920 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts the NBER is “the nation’s leading nonprofit economic research organization. Twenty-four Nobel Prize winners in Economics and thirteen past chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers have been researchers at the NBER….[t]he more than 1,300 professors of economics and business now teaching at colleges and universities in North America who are NBER researchers are the leading scholars in their fields….[t]he NBER is governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from the leading U.S. research universities and major national economics organizations.”

The study is available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w19834

Originally posted 2014-03-05 06:24:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Posted in Current Media Coverage, Investor Advocacy, Pioneer of Information Arbitrage

Manuel Asensio doesn’t bet often. But when he does, it’s wise to pay attention.

Paul Kaihla
eCompany Now
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About Our Founder
Learn more about asensio.com's founder, Manuel P. Asensio, and the website's origins. Click here to be directed to Mr. Asensio’s professional biography.
Media Record
Click here to see selected articles that discuss asensio.com's work and its unique legacy. asensio.com also strives to maintain a complete record of articles dealing with the companies that are the subject of asensio.com research.
Investment Record
Click here to view a list of the companies that have been subjects of asensio.com reporting and click here to see the complete investment record.
Asensio and FINRA
Asensio & Company, Inc. and Manuel P. Asensio are the only dedicated short sellers ever to have been members of FINRA. This unique-minority membership created complications in the regulatory relationship. Being the first activist short investors and among the first FINRA member firms with a website added to the complexity. A statement by Mr. Asensio is available here. Information necessary to obtain a meaningful understanding of the dispute is available in complete form HERE.