BV-VPIN: Measuring the impact of order flow toxicity and liquidity on international equity markets

Rand Kwong Yew Low*, Te Li, Terry Marsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Order flow toxicity is the measure of a trader’s exposure to the risk that counterparties possess private information or other informational advantages. High levels of order flow toxicity can culminate in market makers providing liquidity at a loss or in the suboptimal execution of trades. From a regulatory perspective, high levels of toxicity can be harmful to overall market liquidity and precede precipitous drops in asset prices. The bulk volume-volume-synchronized probability of informed trading (BV-VPIN) model is one way of measuring the “toxicity” component of order flow, and it has been successfully applied in high-frequency trading environments. We apply the BV-VPIN to daily data from a range of international indexes in order to extend previous analyses of its properties.We find that a rise in BV-VPIN effectively foreshadows high levels of volatility in the equity indexes of several countries. If a BV-VPIN futures contract were to exist, we show that it would exhibit safe haven characteristics during market downturns. In particular, a simple active portfolio management strategy that times investments in equities (risk-free assets) when BV-VPIN levels are low (high) outperforms a buy-and-hold strategy. Thus, we find support for the application of BV-VPIN in international equity markets as a risk monitoring and management tool for portfolio managers and regulators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-97
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Risk
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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