Assume Fund A invests in Asset X, and has management costs equalling 20% of the cash flows generated by this investment each year. Since 80% of the cash flows reach the owners of Fund A, the fair value of the fund would as noted be 80% of NTA. Now assume instead Fund A invests in Fund B that invests in Fund C that invests in Asset X, with each fund manager taking 20% of received cash flows. Since 51% of the cash flows now reach the owners of Fund A, the fair value of Fund A is 51% of NTA. The remaining 49% of cash flows from Asset X are absorbed by the fund managers.
|Fund A||Fund B||Fund C||Asset X|
|Cashflow to owner||51%||64%||80%||100%|
|Cashflow to fund manager||13%||16%||20%|
Despite the funds having fair values ranging from 51% to 80% of NTA, all three can fix their price and issue units at NTA, with all three claiming the full right to the same cash flow. In effect, this means the cash flows from Asset X are rehypothecated into 149%, since 100% of the cash flows are promised to investors and 49% absorbed by the fund managers in aggregate.
In aggregate, fund intermediaries and their price-fixing are a form of shadow banking and contribute to the credit creation process, since they create "assets" that can then be used as collateral for lending. In the example above, if Asset X was worth $1bn, the intermediaries have created a further $490m through deliberate fraud, conjuring $490m worth of collateral from thin air into the economy. If all fund intermediaries in an economy fix their unit price at NTA, the aggregate amount of credit creation this entails is equal to aggregate intermediary costs. In Australia, given the high total cost of fund intermediaries, this synthetic leverage has a significant - and entirely ignored - impact on credit creation.