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This case study1 will examine the emergence, development and global variations of a new financing mechanism for welfare services, the Social Impact Bond (SIB). The case will define SIBs in their historical context and will explore the first, pilot, SIB in Peterborough in the UK in detail. In addition, it will consider innovations introduced by other examples from the UK, Australia and the USA. Conclusions will set out the key innovations and contributions of the SIB form and will also consider obstacles and considerations in terms of the future expansion and development of this novel contractual model.
Specifically, this case aims to enhance the reader’s knowledge about:
- How an environment of government reform encourages the development of new contracting models
- How social purpose organizations and social enterprises that deliver welfare services are involved in new relationships with government
- How innovative social finance investment opportunities grow the social finance market
- How social impact metrics can support new funding opportunities and improve organizational performance in terms of social outcomes
- How long-term contracts and flexible funding can enhance strategic flexibility in welfare services delivery that enhances overall performance
- How the involvement of several stakeholder groups in the pursuit of a single outcome creates a unique set of benefits and challenges
On a wintery day in early 2011, the small team at Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D) finished up one of their many conference calls, beeps announcing as each person hung up. The ten-yearold organization based in Roxbury, Massachusetts, drew upon a broad range of volunteers including students, business executives, and lawyers to carry out its mission: to use financial innovation to drive improvements in the delivery of financial services to low to moderate income (LMI) households. This virtual team was working on an engaging new product idea—a new retirement product that might simultaneously address the twin problems of households not saving enough for retirement and then arriving at retirement faced with the daunting challenging of turning their savings into an income stream for future years. While the leadership at D2D had long declined to work on retirement issues, claiming that the space was too crowded for the small organization to make a meaningful contribution, D2D found itself dragged into the project by its Chairman. The team had come to see the potential of the particular R-Bond product idea, but they had a much greater challenge ahead: how to finalize the terms of the product and then convince either the Federal government or the private sector to test and launch it.
A new entrant in the nascent online peer lending space, Lending Club must decide whether or not to register with the SEC. Lending Club provided a platform through which individual borrowers could receive loans funded by individuals who chose to invest in them. The management team wanted to grow the business and also hoped to establish a secondary market to give lender members liquidity. The SEC had raised questions about whether or not the promissory notes issued to lender members were in fact securities, but there were legal arguments on both sides. While the legal situation was unclear, Lending Club considered the benefits of applying to the SEC, but had to decide whether it would be worth the significant investment of time and money, both up front and going forward.
Students must determine whether or not Visa, which had an IPO one month prior, is a good investment. The case provides an overview of multi sided platform businesses and the payments industry in general. Visa's business model and economics are reviewed.
Rising food prices threatened an unprecedented number of people around the world with malnutrition or starvation in 2008. The new Executive Director of the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP)--the world's largest food relief agency-- must not only address this challenge but also must rethink the WFP's strategy in the rapidly-changing world of humanitarian assistance.
In 2002, two homeowners in Massachusetts are deciding whether to refinance their home less than two years after taking out an initial mortgage and a subsequent home equity line of credit.
Kinecta Federal Credit Union has the opportunity to purchase Nix Check Cashing as part of their "blue ocean" strategy to reach the financially underserved and increase credit union membership and deposits. But they face financial as well as reputational risk. Check cashing, payday lending and other alternative financial services are maligned in mainstream financial circles. This case asks students to evaluate both organizations, their respective industries, and the proposed $45 million deal and determine whether or not it makes sense for Kinecta to purchase Nix.
Executives at First National Bank in South Africa are considering whether to launch a potentially exciting, but rather unorthodox, new savings product. Instead of paying interest, this product gives depositors the chance to win large cash prizes each month. Michael Jordan, CEO of the bank's Consumer Solutions Division, must decide whether to approve the product, weighing the potential benefits against large upfront investment, uncertain market demand, and the complication that the product might face legal challenges.
The "Central Bank" series analyzes the use of information and product design for managing the counterparty risk of newly acquired customers. Central Bank, a mid-sized regional U.S. bank, was attempting to grow its customer base by increasing the number of new checking accounts. Like many banks, Central saw checking accounts as an important tool for customer acquisition and loyalty-building. However, the bank realized that the aggressive pursuit of new accounts could result in an increased number of overdrafts and, ultimately, customer defaults. The first case, "Central Bank: The ChexSystems(SM) QualiFile(R) Decision," analyzes how QualiFile, a debit scoring product commercialized by ChexSystems, can be used to manage this risk.
BASIX, an Indian microfinance corporation, must decide whether to continue to sell weather insurance to its clients. A brand-new financial product, weather insurance pays if measured rainfall during the growing season falls below a pre-specified limit. Mr. Sattaiah, managing director of the BASIX's bank, considers a revised insurance policy for the coming season, weighing the costs and potential risks of expanding the product against the potential benefits.
Mark Ernst, the Chairman, CEO and President of H&R Block, has to decide how to respond to a competitive threat posed by a competitor's refund lending product. Block is the largest U.S. tax preparation firm, which competes not only on its tax preparation services, but also through the provision of related financial services. A rival offers a pre-season refund lending product that has drawn away Block customers. Ernst feels that the product as structured is not good for Block, its customers, or the industry. As an added complication, Block is facing an imminent suit brought by Eliot Spitzer about one of its saving products.
CircleLending, an innovative start-up, offered individuals the ability to set up and manage informal loans made between relatives and friends. The company must decide which market segment to focus on and then how much money to raise from investors. CircleLending is a pioneer in the informal lending market, a largely unstudied and little understood consumer finance segment. Asheesh Advani, the founder and CEO of CircleLending, must evaluate the relative attractiveness of various segments, including housing, small business, and other lending.
E-Ductions, a small privately held start-up, developed a new voluntary employee benefit: a payroll-deduction-linked credit card. The CLEAR card provided workers, especially low-income and credit-challenged employees, access to a card with tight credit limits, zero APR, and automatic repayment. The firm's initial experience suggested that the CLEAR card might be attractive to employees, employers, and the card issuer, but E-Duction needed to increase employer acceptance of its new product.
H&R Block, the U.S. market leader in tax preparation services, must decide whether to offer financial services to its low-income clients. H&R Block is facing increased competition from branded and nonbranded tax preparers, and the number of returns prepared by the company has declined in recent years. The CEO, Mark Ernst, considers a proposal for Block to differentiate itself from these competitors by offering its low-income clients a range of financial services, including check cashing, money transfer, and savings products. Ernst must decide whether this new suite of services would be profitable for the company and determine its impact on Block's brand and how the company and the marketplace would receive it.
Williams, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based firm in various energy businesses, must decide whether to accept a financing package offered by Berkshire Hathaway and Lehman Brothers. The proposed one-year credit facility would provide the firm with financial resources in a difficult period.
Bethlehem Steel's 2001 bankruptcy filing inspires an employee's daughter to evaluate her father's pension plan, weeks after September 11's tragedies exacerbated a weakening U.S. economy and just months before her father planned to retire. Battered equity markets and plummeting interest rates foretell a "pension crisis," while the daughter discovers the history and government role in U.S. private defined-benefit pension plans. She tries to apply her newly acquired finance skills as an MBA student to estimate the pension plan's true asset-liability condition and to advise her father about his upcoming retirement from a historically dominant U.S. company that has lost its competitiveness to global producers.
In the summer of 1999, Adecco SA, one of the world's leading staffing companies, was in the midst of attempting to acquire the staffing operations of Olsten Corp., a U.S. firm. This case analyzes the economics of the staffing industry, basic valuation, cross-border issues including tax arbitrage, valuation of minority interest, and the importance of financial health in merger negotiations.
United Grain Growers Ltd. (UGG), a Canadian grain distributor, audited its exposure to a number of key risks, especially the impact of weather on grain volumes and operating income. Understanding these risks was crucial because the company was in the midst of a major modernization and diversification program. But although UGG already managed traditional risks through a variety of control processes, it was still faced with the problem of how to deal with the biggest risk; the weather.
A major U.K.-based multinational is reevaluating its leverage policy as it restructures its business. The treasury team models the tradeoffs between the benefits and costs of debt financing, using Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the savings from the interest tax shields and expected financial distress costs under several sets of leverage policies. The group treasurer (CFO) must decide whether and how the simulation results should be incorporated into a recommendation to the board of directors and, more generally, what recommendation to make regarding the firm's leverage policy.
Looks at a fictional company, HBS Inc., which is trying to determine the appropriate amount of debt in its capital structure. Allows students to analyze the tradeoff between tax shields and expected costs of financial distress. May be used with: (9-201-033) Diageo plc.
CSFB equity research analyst Laura Martin publishes a report on valuing Cox Communications that introduces an innovative approach to valuation. She contends that EBITDA multiple analysis, typical for the cable industry, is flawed because it overlooks the value of the "stealth tier" (unused capacity on cable companies' fiber optic network). Martin proposes using real options valuation to impute value to the stealth tier, and she thereby arrives at a higher valuation for Cox stock. This provides the context for contrasting several valuation methodologies--traditional DCF analysis, regression-based ROIC and multiple analysis, and real option theory--and assessing how selected assumptions impact the various valuation techniques. In particular, Martin reviews ways in which the industry is evolving and students can think about how these changes impact which valuation method is most appropriate. More generally, this case provides a context for discussing the role of equity research analysts, highlighting all the constituencies they serve and how this can create conflicts of interest. Martin's application of real options theory provides an opportunity to evaluate where it works, where it doesn't, and why.
This case focuses on how much external financing a firm needs and what securities the firm should issue to raise this financing. Cox Communications is a major player in the cable industry, which is consolidating due to technological changes/capabilities brought about by the Internet. The corporate treasury of Cox Communications must decide how much external financing is necessary to finance a series of intra-industry acquisitions that Cox has recently undertaken. The choices are plain-vanilla equity, debt, asset sales, and a new equity-linked derivative known as FELINE PRIDES, offered by Merrill Lynch. The treasurer and his team must make this decision facing the usual market constraints. There are also some special constraints, including maintaining financial flexibility for further acquisitions and limiting the dilution of Cox's largest shareholder, who owns nearly 70% of the firm.
This case describes the pay packages offered to Sara Becker, a graduating MBA student, including detailed information about two stock option packages (one of which is an indexed option package). She gathers the information and attempts to compare those compensation offers.
In December 1996, Enron Europe and The Eastern Group were on the verge of signing an innovative transaction in the utility industry. Eastern was going to buy a long-term option to convert natural gas into electricity from Enron, thereby giving it the economic right to operate a "virtual" power station. This structure was vastly different from the traditional independent power plant (IPP) structure, and the executives involved had to convince their superiors of its wisdom before they could proceed. This case was jointly written for Large-Scale Investment and Corporate Financial Engineering, and it covers topics related to both project finance and financial engineering. It illustrates a new paradigm in the electric power industry: the creation of virtual power stations backed by physical power stations with merchant exposure. It also illustrates how physical operations (constructing and operating a power plant) can be used to offset contractual obligations and trading exposures.
Sally Jameson has a large block of appreciated stock, which she is contemplating selling to purchase a home. She is comparing an outright sale, borrowing against the stock, shorting against the box, and a stock loan proposed by a small financial services firm.
In 1994 General Property Trust, an Australian property investment trust, was anticipating future cash needs beyond those that the Trust could fund with internal cash flows. The managers of the Trust were considering a novel financing structure whereby it would sell call options on the Trust's units. The options' structure made it likely that they would be exercised, and therefore investors would choose to buy the Trust's units. The managers had to determine the appropriateness of this funding scheme in light of the Trust's alternatives and evaluate the proposed pricing of the options that would be offered via a rights offering.
The second in a four-part series, the case details the financial policies and practices at General Motors from 1990 to 1996. This part describes the stated financial policies of the firm, including its approach to capital structure, liability structure, equity structure, dividends, cash balances, and risk management.
The third in a four-part series, this case details the financial policies and practices at General Motors from 1990 to 1996. This part describes the firm's financial responses to the business stresses it faced in the 1992 time period.
The fourth in a four-part series, the case details the financial policies and practices at General Motors from 1990 to 1996. This case describes the set of financial decisions taken by the firm as its business recovered, and focuses on an immediate decision faced by GM's treasurer in 1996. He must decide whether to recommend that the board hold "excess" cash, disburse it to shareholders via a dividend increase, or repurchase shares. In addition, the repurchase alternative offers a number of tactical choices, including whether to engage in a put-writing program or an accelerated share repurchase.
The first in a four-part series, this case details the financial policies and practices at General Motors from 1990 to 1996. This part provides a brief introduction to the company.
In early 1997, Cephalon, awaited an FDA panel's decision on whether its drug, Myotrophin, would be approved. If the drug was approved, the firm might need substantial additional funds to commercialize as well as to buy back rights to it (which had been sold earlier to finance its development). The firm's CFO is considering a variety of financing strategies, including buying call options on the firm's own stock and paying for those options by issuing shares at the current time.
Supplements the (A) case.
Provides background information on copper and zinc markets as of mid-1996. Discusses supply and demand conditions, forecasts of the spot prices of the metals, and contracts for future delivery (forwards, futures, and options).
In June 1996, executives of the multinational mining company RTZ-CRA contemplate bidding to acquire the Antamina copper and zinc mine in Peru. The Antamina project is being offered for sale by auction as part of the privatization of Peru's state mining company. RTZ-CRA has to determine what the mine is worth and decide whether and how it should bid in the upcoming auction. The bidding rules put in place by the Peruvian government dictate that each company's bid contain two components: an up-front cash amount and an amount the bidder will invest to develop the property if development is warranted after further exploration is completed.
Provides general background on the taxation of corporate securities, and shows how the inconsistent taxation of functionally-similar securities can permit financial engineers to bear tax risk to earn positive returns. Designed to be used with Times Mirror Co. PEPS Proposal Review, so that students can understand and calculate the tax-driven sources of value from Times Mirror's use of a PEPS to monetize its holdings in Netscape.
Times Mirror Co. (TMC) owns a substantial block of Netscape common stock purchased prior to Netscape's IPO, on which it has substantial unrealized gains. TMC is restricted from selling the stock in a public offering and is therefore considering a proposal by Morgan Stanley to issue Premium Equity Participating Securities (PEPS) to monetize its Netscape holdings. These PEPS would pay interest quarterly and be redeemable in five years at a price tied to the value of Netscape shares, subject to certain formulas and call provisions effectively apportioning the upside in Netscape stock between TMC and the PEPS investors. The tax treatment of the PEPS, while unclear, is of significant importance.
James Cross, VP of customer planning at the Tennessee Valley Authority, a major supplier of electric power in the Southeast United States, is considering meeting its incremental capacity needs by creating new financial contracts, Option Purchase Agreements (OPAs) to buy or sell electricity. Cross must resolve many design issues with the OPAs and evaluate the OPA proposal in light of the rapidly evolving, increasingly competitive electricity market.
Rick Melnick oversees the Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF), which provides loans to Harvard Business School students. SELF is changing the terms of student loans from variable-rate with semiannual payments to fixed-rate loans with equal monthly payments. Melnick must decide how to finance SELF in light of the new loan mix. SELF can use a wide range of interest-rate derivative products to modify the terms of its existing financing.
ABN-AMRO, the largest bank in the Netherlands, must decide whether to take any action in regard to the poor performance of Smit Transformatoren, a Dutch transformer manufacturer. ABN-AMRO acted as lead underwriter for the IPO of Smit, and also released a favorable equity research report around the time of the IPO. Smit's stock price initially performed favorably, but then fell significantly in conjunction with poor earnings announcements and other bad news.
Supplements the (A) case.
The chief financial officer of a rapidly growing U.S.-based software firm that sells its process-control software to industrial users around the globe must review the goals, strategies, and policies of the firm's currency hedging program. This review is prompted by changes in the firm's business, notably its acquisition of a United Kingdom subsidiary, other growing overseas expenses, and its recent initial public offering.
Amoco Corp. is negotiating to sell a wholly-owned subsidiary, MW Petroleum, to Apache Corp. MW owns large reserves of oil and gas comprising many properties at different stages of engineering, development, and production. The proposed acquisition is a large one for Apache and poses several important financing and valuation problems. This case focuses on evaluation and execution of a creative financing structure that allows the buyer and seller to reallocate oil price risk.
Discusses a company deciding what it should do to manage its worldwide hedging operations.
Amoco Corp. is negotiating to sell a wholly-owned subsidiary, MW Petroleum, to Apache Corp. MW owns large reserves of oil and gas comprising many properties at different stages of engineering, development, and production. The proposed acquisition is a large one for Apache and poses several important financing and valuation problems. This case focuses primarily on valuation.
In mid-1993, representatives of Rhone-Poulenc, a leading nationalized French firm, worked with the French government to plan the imminent privatization of the firm. One aspect of the privatization was to create incentives for employees to buy and hold shares in the firm. A partial privatization earlier in 1993 proved that workers were reluctant to hold equities, even after receiving discounts and subsidized financing. The key financial officers of the firm received a proposal from Bankers Trust that would offer employees a unique investment in the firm, which might increase employee participation in the share offering. This alternative would guarantee employees a minimum rate of return yet allow them to enjoy appreciation of the firm's shares. The financial officers have to decide whether to propose this employee stock ownership alternative to the French government and to Rhone-Poulenc's board for inclusion in the forthcoming privatization.
Leland O'Brien Rubinstein Associates, Inc. (LOR), which profited by selling portfolio insurance to institutional investors, attempts to rebuild itself after the 1987 stock market crash by creating new products to meet the unsatisfied needs of equity investors. LOR proposes to sell a new family of products, called the SuperTrust, which would let investors trade an exchange-listed basket security and to buy collateralized put options on broad equity indices. The case examines the needs that gave rise to the SuperTrust project as well as the institutional roadblocks LOR had to overcome to bring this offering to market.
The CEO of Enron Gas Services (EGS), a subsidiary of the largest U.S. integrated natural gas firm, considers the risks and opportunities of selling a variety of natural gas derivatives, both embedded in gas delivery contracts and as free-standing financial contracts. In its three years of existence, EGS had been successful by offering buyers and sellers of natural gas a variety of innovative pricing contracts. In order to mitigate the risks of having mismatch between its commitments to buy and sell gas, EGS established a system to decompose all of its commitments into a handful of different risks of exposures. Its centralized risk-management group not only measures the firm's exposures but also enters into financial contracts to offset the exposure brought about by the firm's business activities.
Banc One's share price has been falling recently due to analyst and investor concern over the bank's heavy use of interest rate derivatives. Dick Lodge, chief investment officer in charge of the bank's investment and derivative portfolio, must recommend to the CEO a course of action to allay investors' fears and communicate to the market the reasons for Banc One's use of derivatives. The bank uses interest rate swaps to manage the sensitivity of its earnings to changes in interest rates and as attractive investment alternatives to conventional securities.
Union Carbide's board of directors is asked to evaluate a proposal from the staff treasurer's that would articulate policies to manage its debt portfolio. The staff proposes that shareholder value will be maximized if the firm manages its exposure to interest rates by matching the duration of its liabilities to that of its assets. Based on statistical analysis, examination of rivals' policies, and reasoning, they argue that the firm, establish a benchmark duration for its liabilities against which all future active management activities be measured.
Leland O'Brien Rubinstein Associates, a small financial advisory firm founded in 1980, has created a successful business by selling a product commonly known as portfolio insurance. Portfolio insurance is a trading strategy that institutional investors use to establish a floor on the value of their equity portfolios, by essentially manufacturing a put option on a broad market index. The crash of 1987 highlights the flaws of this manufacturing process and forces principals of LOR to consider what to do next.
Aberlyn Capital Management, a venture leasing firm specializing in providing capital to biotechnology firms, proposes to introduce a new product. Aberlyn will base a lease on an intangible product: the patent of a biotechnology firm. This poses a series of short and longer run challenges.
Tina Chen, chief investment officer of a large insurance company, hears accusations by a Kidder Peabody equity research analyst that Dell Computer Corp. might be improperly accounting for what he suspects are large foreign exchange losses resulting from speculation. She must recommend what position to take in Dell's stock and attempts to understand the various financial instruments and strategies Dell could have used in its foreign exchange operations. She must also understand how Dell accounted for its foreign exchange transactions and make some sense of the conflicting views of outside experts on the controversy.
Managing the risk of changing prices of gold is central to the business strategy of American Barrick Resources Corp., one of North America's largest and most successful gold-mining firms. The case contrasts this firm's hedging policies with those of its rivals that do not hedge and details the wide range of hedging products (gold loans, forwards, options, spot deferred contracts) used to manage price risk. In 1992 the management of American Barrick is pleasantly surprised by unexpected new gold finds, but this new production places demands on the firm's hedging program and tests the firm's commitment to hedging when prices of gold and of many hedging vehicles are unattractive.
To develop the next generation of risky products, ALZA, a mature and profitable biotechnology firm specializing in drug delivery systems, must raise $40 million. Organizational constraints and competitive concerns demand that the work be done inside the firm. However, accounting considerations and concerns about shareholders' reactions to the introduction of new risks to the firm lead the CEO to consider off-balance-sheet means to finance the new venture. To finance the new venture, the firm creates a new financing vehicle: a unit consisting of callable common stock plus warrants. This case examines the CEO's decision leading up to the issue of the units and the establishment of a new research and development subsidiary.
Supplements the (A) case. Describes the CEO's decision.
Supplements the (A) case. Describes the implementation of the CEO's decision.
Supplements the (A) case. Describes the aftermarket performance of the units.
An analyst at General Motors charged with managing the structure of the automaker's debt must decide whether and how to modify the interest rate exposure of the firm's most recent debt offering. The analyst must take into consideration GM's liability management policy guidelines, the firm's existing interest rate exposure, his expectations of interest rates, and the wide range of interest rate products available. He must decide whether to leave the fixed-rate instrument unchanged or to enter into a swap, cap, interest rate option, or swap option transaction.
Documents a pricing anomaly in the large and liquid treasury bond market. The prices of callable treasury bonds seem to be inconsistent with the prices of noncallable treasuries and an arbitrage opportunity appears to exist. Permits instructors to introduce the treasury market, the concept of creating synthetic instruments, principles of arbitrage, and institutional frictions in the bond markets.
Details a thinly disguised situation faced by a recent Harvard MBA graduate who was forced by a prospective employer to place a dollar value on a grant of stock options. There are two objectives: 1) Serves as an introduction to option valuation, in which students have an opportunity to use market data to value an option in a realistic setting. 2) The setting permits a broader discussion of the wisdom of option-based incentive plans and the popular misconceptions of the value of option grants based on a widespread misunderstanding of how options work and how they are valued.
An investment manager notices a large apparent discrepancy in the prices of two nearly-identical bonds issued in conjunction with a major leveraged buyout. The manager must figure out whether the instruments are mispriced relative to one another, and if so, how to capture arbitrage profits from the temporary anomaly. The case introduces students to a wide variety of instruments ranging from very simple treasury strips to P-I-K debentures. Encourages students to devise "arbitrage" positions and understand the degree to which these positions are riskless.
Japanese financial institutions' willingness to sell put options on the Nikkei Stock Average provides investment banks with the raw material from which to create a security that would allow U.S. investors to bet on falls in the Japanese Stock Market. The investment bank that seeks to create this new product must decide how to design, produce (hedge), and price the options (Nikkei Put Warrants). Highlights the global nature of new product development in the securities market and provides opportunities for students to make and critique the key decisions involved in creating this new product. Students must consider the costs of production, the preferences of consumers, competitive dynamics, and the pricing of substitutes for the new product.
Two forest products manufacturers negotiate the sale of a group of assets. ACRS would allow the buyer to rapidly depreciate the stepped up basis to justify a high valuation. The seller recently paid greenmail, and this transaction may be linked to its desire to avoid paying off a second investor.