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Importance Sampling for Portfolio Credit Risk

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Glasserman

    () (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

  • Jingyi Li

    () (Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

Abstract

Monte Carlo simulation is widely used to measure the credit risk in portfolios of loans, corporate bonds, and other instruments subject to possible default. The accurate measurement of credit risk is often a rare-event simulation problem because default probabilities are low for highly rated obligors and because risk management is particularly concerned with rare but significant losses resulting from a large number of defaults. This makes importance sampling (IS) potentially attractive. But the application of IS is complicated by the mechanisms used to model dependence between obligors, and capturing this dependence is essential to a portfolio view of credit risk. This paper provides an IS procedure for the widely used normal copula model of portfolio credit risk. The procedure has two parts: One applies IS conditional on a set of common factors affecting multiple obligors, the other applies IS to the factors themselves. The relative importance of the two parts of the procedure is determined by the strength of the dependence between obligors. We provide both theoretical and numerical support for the method.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Glasserman & Jingyi Li, 2005. "Importance Sampling for Portfolio Credit Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(11), pages 1643-1656, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:51:y:2005:i:11:p:1643-1656
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1050.0415
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Glasserman & Philip Heidelberger & Perwez Shahabuddin, 1999. "Asymptotically Optimal Importance Sampling and Stratification for Pricing Path-Dependent Options," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 117-152.
    2. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
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