On break-even correlation: the way to price structured credit derivatives by replication
We consider the pricing of European-style structured credit payoff in a static framework, where the underlying default times are independent given a common factor. A practical application would consist of the pricing of nth-to-default baskets under the Gaussian copula model (GCM). We provide necessary and sufficient conditions so that the corresponding asset prices are martingales and introduce the concept of "break-even" correlation matrix. When no sudden jump-to-default events occur, we show that the perfect replication of these payoffs under the GCM is obtained if and only if the underlying single name credit spreads follow a particular family of dynamics. We calculate the corresponding break-even correlations and we exhibit a class of Merton-style models that are consistent with this result. We explain why the GCM does not have a lot of competitors among the class of one-period static models, except perhaps the Clayton copula.
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- Merton, Robert C, 1974.
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- Damiano Brigo & Aurélien Alfonsi, 2005. "Credit default swap calibration and derivatives pricing with the SSRD stochastic intensity model," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 29-42, January.
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