Relying on a hand-collected data set of European asset securitizations, we analyze risk retention, a key regulatory reform requirement after the global financial crisis. We find today’s ABS markets to be characterized by significant retention opacity, caused by differences in legal retention options and retained portions. To improve the transparency of effective, rather than nominal, risk retention in the market, we propose a new, simple metric that captures the share of expected loss retained by the issuer. As to policy conclusions, we suggest to change the existing regulation by dropping the mandatory minimum retention and replacing it with a requirement for full transparency about effective risk retention.
forthcoming in Journal of Financial Stability, Vol. 60, Article 100998, 2023