IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Central Counterparty Risk


  • Matthias Arnsdorf


A clearing member of a Central Counterparty (CCP) is exposed to losses on their default fund and initial margin contributions. Such losses can be incurred whenever the CCP has insufficient funds to unwind the portfolio of a defaulting clearing member. This does not necessarily require the default of the CCP itself. In this note we aim to quantify the risk a financial institution has when facing a CCP. We show that a clearing member's CCP risk is given by a sum of exposures to each of the other clearing members. This arises because of the implicit default insurance that each member has provided in the form of mutualised, loss sharing collateral. We calculate the exposures by explicitly modeling the capital structure of a CCP as well as the loss distributions of the individual member portfolios. An important consideration in designing the model is the limited transparency with respect to the portfolio composition and collateral levels of individual clearing members. To overcome this we leverage the fact that, for a typical CCP, margin levels are risk-based. In particular, we parameterise the portfolio loss tail as a Pareto distribution and we calibrate this to the CCP defined probability of losses exceeding the posted initial margin levels. A key aspect of the model is that we explicitly take into account wrong-way risk, i.e. the fact that member defaults are more likely to occur in stressed market conditions, as well as potential contagion between a member's default and the losses on his portfolio.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Arnsdorf, 2012. "Central Counterparty Risk," Papers 1205.1533,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1205.1533

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Latest version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:oup:rasset:v:1:y:2011:i:1:p:74-95. is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1205.1533. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (arXiv administrators). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.