1 Comment

  1. ALAN KOHLER

    A tsunami of hope or terror?
    As the world slips into recession, it is also on the brink of a synthetic CDO cataclysm that could actually save the global banking system.

    It is a truly great irony that the world’s banks could end up being saved not by governments, but by the synthetic CDO time bomb that they set ticking with their own questionable practices during the credit boom.

    Alternatively, the triggering of default on the trillions of dollars worth of synthetic CDOs that were sold before 2007 could be a disaster that tips the world from recession into depression. Nobody knows, but it won’t be a small event.

    A synthetic CDO is a collateralised debt obligation that is based on credit default swaps rather than physical debt securities.

    These were not simply investment products created out of thin air and designed to give their sales people something from which to earn fees – although they were that too.

    They were specifically designed to protect the banks against default by the most leveraged companies in the world. And of course the banks knew better than anyone else who they were.

    As one part of the bank was furiously selling loans to these companies, another part was furiously selling insurance contracts against them defaulting, to unsuspecting investors who were actually a bit like “Lloyds Names” – the 1500 or so individuals who back the London reinsurance giant.

    Except in this case very few of the “names” knew what they were buying. And nobody has any idea how many were sold, or with what total face value.

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/A-tsunami-of-hope-or-terror-LHRJP?OpenDocument&src=sph

Comments are closed.