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Month: August 2014

Synthetics, derivatives and leverage – oh my!

Synthetics, derivatives and leverage – oh my!

Wall Street banks are encouraging the use of derivatives including total return swaps (TRS), credit index options (swaptions) and variants of the synthetic collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) that proved so disastrous during the previous financial crisis in an effort to serve investors the yield they so desperately crave.

(The crucial difference this time around, is that these are tied to corporate credit rather than residential home loans).

Read the following, and weep/laugh as you see fit.

Boom-era credit deals poised for comeback (December, 2013)

Last month Citigroup placed an unusual job advertisement. The bank was seeking an analyst able to crunch the numbers on an obscure financial security: synthetic collateralised debt obligations. Four weeks later, job applicants would find the position filled. Such has been the clamour among investors for the higher yields from higher-risk products that big banks including Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are turning again to the more esoteric parts of the financial markets.

Turning to total return swaps (July, 2014)

A type of derivative known as a “total return swap” has become a hot ticket item on Wall Street as investors seek out new ways of playing booming credit markets, while banks – including Goldman Sachs – find fresh methods to finance their assets.

Investors dine on fresh menu of credit derivatives (August, 2014)

The renewed boom in credit derivatives is being powered by yield-hungry investors and Wall Street banks looking for new revenues. The two instruments helping investors play booming corporate credit markets at this juncture include total return swaps (TRS) and options on indices comprised of credit default swaps.