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Analytical Pricing of Basket Default Swaps in a Dynamic Hull & White Framework

by Frédéric D. Vrins of ING Bank

January 2010

Abstract: In this paper, some analytical results related to the Hull & White dynamic model of credit portfolio of N obligors in the case of constant jump size are provided. For instance, this specific assumption combined with the moment generating function of the Poisson process lead to analytical calibration for the model with respect to the underlying CDSs. Further, extremely simple analytical expressions are obtained for first-to-default swaps; the more general case of quantities related to nth-to-default swaps also have a closed form and remain tractable for small n. Similarly, pairwise correlation between default indicators also proves to be simple. Although the purpose of this note is not to compare models, we compare the shape of pairwise default correlations of the Hull & White, the Gaussian copula and the Mai & Scherer model with compound Poisson process as Lévy subordinator. It is shown that only the models including jumps can lead to non-vanishing default correlation for short-term maturities. Further, these models can generate higher default correlation levels compared to the Gaussian one. When calibrated on default probability of first default time, Jump-based models also lead to much higher default probability for the last obligor to default. Finally, we tackle the problem of simultaneous jumps, which prevent the above class of models to be usable when recoveries are name-specific. To that end, we propose a tractable compromise to deal with baskets being non-homogeneous recovery-wise under the Hull & White model by splitting isolated and non-isolated default events.

JEL Classification: C12.

Keywords: CDO, nth-to-default, basket default swap, analytical pricing, dynamix model, Stochastic intensity.

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