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CDOs and Systematic Risk: Why bond ratings are inadequate

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  • Jan Pieter Krahnen

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  • Christian Wilde

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the risk properties of typical asset-backed securities (ABS), like CDOs or MBS, relying on a model with both macroeconomic and idiosyncratic components. The examined properties include expected loss, loss given default, and macro factor dependencies. Using a two-dimensional loss decomposition as a new metric, the risk properties of individual ABS tranches can directly be compared to those of corporate bonds, within and across rating classes. By applying Monte Carlo Simulation, we find that the risk properties of ABS differ significantly and systematically from those of straight bonds with the same rating. In particular, loss given default, the sensitivities to macroeconomic risk, and model risk differ greatly between instruments. Our findings have implications for understanding the credit crisis and for policy making. On an economic level, our analysis suggests a new explanation for the observed rating inflation in structured finance markets during the pre-crisis period 2004-2007. On a policy level, our findings call for a termination of the 'one-size-fits-all' approach to the rating methodology for fixed income instruments, requiring an own rating methodology for structured finance instruments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Pieter Krahnen & Christian Wilde, 2009. "CDOs and Systematic Risk: Why bond ratings are inadequate," Working Paper Series: Finance and Accounting 203, Department of Finance, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.
  • Handle: RePEc:fra:franaf:203
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    File URL: http://www.finance.uni-frankfurt.de/wp/1864.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gunter Franke & Jan Pieter Krahnen, 2007. "Default Risk Sharing between Banks and Markets: The Contribution of Collateralized Debt Obligations," NBER Chapters,in: The Risks of Financial Institutions, pages 603-634 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Peter M. DeMarzo, 2005. "The Pooling and Tranching of Securities: A Model of Informed Intermediation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 1-35.
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    Cited by:

    1. Günter Franke & Jan P. Krahnen, 2009. "Instabile Finanzmärkte," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(4), pages 335-366, November.
    2. Lützenkirchen, Kristina & Rösch, Daniel & Scheule, Harald, 2013. "Ratings based capital adequacy for securitizations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5236-5247.
    3. Freixas, Xavier & Laux, Christian, 2011. "Disclosure, transparency, and market discipline," CFS Working Paper Series 2011/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    4. Mählmann, Thomas, 2013. "Hedge funds, CDOs and the financial crisis: An empirical investigation of the “Magnetar trade”," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 537-548.
    5. Wilde, Christian & Krahnen, Jan Pieter, 2017. "Skin in the game in ABS transactions: A critical review of policy options," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168296, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Krahnen, Jan Pieter & Wilde, Christian, 2017. "Skin-in-the-game in ABS transactions: A critical review of policy options," SAFE White Paper Series 46, Goethe University Frankfurt, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    credit risk; risk transfer; systematic risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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