Jonathan Witmer is the Director of the Monetary Policy Analysis and Research Team in the Financial Markets Department. His primary research interests include the role of mutual funds in financial markets and the transmission of monetary policy. Jonathan has also worked on various policy issues such as the zero lower bound, monetary policy implementation, and OTC derivatives. He obtained his PhD in Finance from Queen’s University and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Monetary policy implementation could, in theory, be constrained by deeply negative rates since overnight market participants may have an incentive to invest in cash rather than lend to other participants.
Following the financial crisis, there has been increased regulatory focus on the management of liquidity in mutual funds and, specifically, whether funds hold enough liquidity to guard against the potential for investor runs.
Recently, the Bank of Canada has estimated the effective lower bound (ELB) on its policy interest rate to be about -50 basis points. This article outlines the analysis that underpins that estimate by quantifying the costs of storing and using cash in Canada. It also explores how some international markets have adapted to negative interest rates, issues surrounding their implementation, as well as their transmission to other interest rates in the economy. Finally, it discusses theoretical ideas on how the ELB could be reduced further.
In 2009, the Bank of Canada set its effective lower bound (ELB) at 25 basis points (bps). Given the recent experience of Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and the euro area with negative interest rates, we examine the economics of negative interest rates and suggest that cash storage costs are the source of a negative lower bound on interest rates.
The authors examine the liquidity and leverage characteristics of Canadian long-term, open-end mutual funds in terms of their potential systemic effects on the Canadian mutual fund sector and on the Canadian financial system more broadly. In their overall assessment of this sector, they consider the regulation, market size and ownership structure of mutual funds in Canada and provide observations about the industry globally.