## Abstract

Modeling default dependence for measuring and managing portfolio credit risk is one of the most

challenging problems in modern ﬁnance. The standard industry model is a multi-variate Gaus-

sian latent-variable model where the latent variables are associated with log asset value processes.

These processes are most commonly modeled by a ﬁrm speciﬁc and a single market factor with a

constant factor loading determining the strength of correlation between the asset values. Estimat-

ing asset correlations is not straightforward because asset values are per se not observable. Stan-

dard practice suggests estimating asset values from stock prices using the Black-Scholes-Merton

framework and computing the correlation parameter from the obtained asset values. However, it

is well known that this model is based on several simplifying assumptions and, moreover, relies on

infrequently updated accounting data. In this paper we apply a latent variable model to estimate

the log asset returns from observable CDS spreads. In a market without reliable prices, such as for

ﬁrst-to-default (FTD) baskets, we compare our model with the standard industry model by ana-

lyzing the hedge eﬀectiveness on FTD baskets for three diﬀerent regimes: the GM/Ford crisis, the

sub-prime crisis and the period in between, when market conditions were more normal. We ﬁnd

both models to perform similarly but in periods of severe market turbulences such as the ongoing

sub-prime crisis the spread model is more favorable, since it results in hedging error distributions

with substantially lower dispersion.

challenging problems in modern ﬁnance. The standard industry model is a multi-variate Gaus-

sian latent-variable model where the latent variables are associated with log asset value processes.

These processes are most commonly modeled by a ﬁrm speciﬁc and a single market factor with a

constant factor loading determining the strength of correlation between the asset values. Estimat-

ing asset correlations is not straightforward because asset values are per se not observable. Stan-

dard practice suggests estimating asset values from stock prices using the Black-Scholes-Merton

framework and computing the correlation parameter from the obtained asset values. However, it

is well known that this model is based on several simplifying assumptions and, moreover, relies on

infrequently updated accounting data. In this paper we apply a latent variable model to estimate

the log asset returns from observable CDS spreads. In a market without reliable prices, such as for

ﬁrst-to-default (FTD) baskets, we compare our model with the standard industry model by ana-

lyzing the hedge eﬀectiveness on FTD baskets for three diﬀerent regimes: the GM/Ford crisis, the

sub-prime crisis and the period in between, when market conditions were more normal. We ﬁnd

both models to perform similarly but in periods of severe market turbulences such as the ongoing

sub-prime crisis the spread model is more favorable, since it results in hedging error distributions

with substantially lower dispersion.

Originalsprache | Englisch |
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Publikationsstatus | Veröffentlicht - 1 Sept. 2009 |