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Constant proportion debt obligations: a post-mortem analysis of rating models

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  • Michael B. Gordy
  • Søren Willemann

Abstract

In its complexity and its vulnerability to market volatility, the CPDO might be viewed as the poster child for the excesses of financial engineering in the credit market. This paper examines the CPDO as a case study in model risk in the rating of complex structured products. We demonstrate that the models used by S&P and Moody's would have assigned very low probability to the spread levels realized in the investment grade corporate credit default swap market in late 2007, even though these spread levels were comparable to those of 2002. The spread levels realized in the first quarter of 2008 would have been assigned negligibly small probabilities. Had the models put non-negligible likelihood on attaining these high spread levels, the CPDO notes could never have achieved investment grade status. We conclude with larger lessons for the rating of complex products and for modeling credit risk in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael B. Gordy & Søren Willemann, 2010. "Constant proportion debt obligations: a post-mortem analysis of rating models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2010-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Baghai, Ramin & Becker, Bo, 2016. "Non-rating revenue and conflicts of interest," CEPR Discussion Papers 11508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Agostino Capponi & Martin Larsson, 2014. "Will banning naked CDS impact bond prices?," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 481-508, August.
    3. Gordy, Michael B. & Szerszen, Pawel J., 2015. "Bayesian Estimation of Time-Changed Default Intensity Models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    Keywords

    Credit ratings ; Econometric models ; Risk management;

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