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In Rememberance: World Trade Center (WTC)

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Credit Risk Transfer: Developments from 2005 to 2007

by Basel Committee on Banking Supervision,
International Organization of Securities Commissions, and
International Association of Insurance Supervisors

July 2008

Abstract: Credit risk transfer has grown quickly, often with complex products, and provides concrete benefits to the global financial system. The benefits of credit risk transfer (CRT) are well understood and have not changed since the Joint Forumís first CRT report in 2005. CRT allows credit risk to be more easily transferred and potentially more widely dispersed across the financial market. CRT has made the market pricing of credit risk more liquid and transparent. But CRT also poses new risks. A failure to understand and manage some of these risks contributed to the market turmoil of 2007.

Like the Joint Forumís 2005 report, this report focuses on the newest forms of credit risk transfer, those associated with credit derivatives. These new forms of CRT were the impetus for the 2005 report, and their continued evolution and growth motivated this update.

Several developments in CRT markets are important for understanding the evolving risks of CRT and the role of CRT in the market turmoil of 2007. Since 2005, CRT activity has become significant in two new underlying asset classes: asset-backed securities (ABS) and leveraged loans. Investor demand for tranched CRT products, such as collateralised debt obligations referencing ABS (ABS CDOs) and collateralised loan obligations (CLOs), was high. This demand encouraged significant origination and issuance of products in these underlying asset classes. ABS CDOs focused their portfolios on US subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), while CLOs focused their portfolios on leveraged loans sourced from corporate mergers and acquisitions and leveraged buyouts.

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