The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent
Bespoke Tranche Opportunities

Bespoke Tranche Opportunities

05/04/2021 01:24
Katya Ryder

Table of Contents

The Fundamentals of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities What’s included in Bespoke CDOs?The Pros of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities The Cons of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities The Real World Bespoke Tranche Opportunities

The Fundamentals of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities 

A bespoke tranche opportunities, formerly known as bespoke CDO, is a structured financial product, which is specifically a collateralized debt obligation (CDO). It is something a dealer produces and tailors to the needs of a specific group of investors. The investor party normally purchases a single tranche of the bespoke CDO, with the remaining tranches owned by the broker, who will try to protect against future losses using other financial instruments such as credit derivatives.

A collateralized debt obligation (CDO) traditionally pools a variety of cash flow-generating assets, such as bonds, mortgages, and other forms of loans, and then repackages the portfolio into separate tranches. Bespoke CDOs may be organized similarly to conventional CDOs, pooling debt groups with income sources, but the concept is more often used to describe synthetic CDOs that invest in credit default swaps (CDS) and are more flexible and complex.

Tranches are segments of a pooled asset that are separated by certain characteristics. Depending on the creditworthiness of the underlying asset, various tranches of the CDO bear varying degrees of risk. As a result, each tranche has a different quarterly rate of return based on its risk profile. Obviously, the higher the risk of the tranche's holdings defaulting, the higher the return.

What’s included in Bespoke CDOs?

There are a couple of products included in bespoke tranche opportunities. Here are the major examples of BTOs.

A Mortgage Loan

It's about someone who wants to purchase a house but doesn't have enough money to buy it outright. Loans are normally long-term (10-30 years) with a fixed interest rate and recurring payments that must be made during the loan's duration. The first few years of payments are mostly used to pay interest, with very little money going toward paying off the loan.

If you make a $2000 monthly payment, $1400 will go toward interest and only $600 will go toward equity, or the balance you owe on the loan. In order for these loans to be sold on the secondary market, the interest earned up front is critical.

A Mortgage Backed Security

It is a bundled set of individual mainstreet loans. These were usually generated by investment banks who bought vast pools of loans from smaller banks or mortgage brokers that found people to lend money to.

Smaller banks like Washington Mutual and Wachovia, as well as mortgage lenders like Countrywide, financed loans that were then sold to and purchased by institutions, the biggest of which are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which only buy wholesale.

Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO)

In general, CDO consists of portions of various MBS/ABS portfolios that are then split and sold as Credit linked notes of varying consistency, risks, and yields.

CDOs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most basic and popular vanilla plain CDO is a cashflow CDO, which receives interest payments from loans. This is where the $1400 in monthly interest of mortgages goes. CDO Squared are CDOs that are made up of different tranches of other CDOs. There are two types of CDOs: synthetic and hybrid. Synthetic CDOs are made up of cash flow transfers from credit default swaps.

Credit Default Swap (CDS)

It is a form of insurance in and of itself, but it was not commonly used in that capacity. It's similar to a PUT Option in that the buyer must pay a premium to the seller, but that's where the resemblance ends. The agreement states that the seller will receive regular cash payments for the duration of the agreement, and that the seller of CDS will make the Buyer whole if the underlying security experiences a credit event (default).

There are more products pooled into BTOs aside from what are mentioned above. But, most likely, mortgages, CDOs, and CDS are included.

The Pros of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities 

The obvious benefit of a bespoke tranche opportunity is that it can be customized by the customers. It is a tool that enables investors to target very particular risk-to-reward profiles for their investment objectives or hedging needs. There will be a dealer who can create a BTO for an investor who wants to make a big, focused bet against the goat cheese industry for the right price. Nonetheless, because of the pool loans from, say, many goat cheese producers, these items are quite diverse.

The second major advantage is that they can have above-market returns. Those seeking investment income must search deeper when credit markets are stable and fixed interest rates are low.

The Cons of Bespoke Tranche Opportunities 

The fact that bespoke tranche opportunities have little to no secondary market is a significant drawback. Regular pricing is difficult due to the lack of a demand. The worth must be determined using sophisticated theoretical financial models. These models can make predictions that turn out to be disastrously incorrect, costing the owner a lot of money and leaving them with a financial instrument they can't sell at any price. The more personalized a BTO is, the less likely it is to cater to a certain investor or investors.

Then there's the lack of transparency and liquidity that over-the-counter transactions, in general, and these instruments, in particular, entail. As unregulated goods, bespoke opportunities carry a high risk profile, making them a better fit for institutional investors including hedge funds than for individual investors.

The Real World Bespoke Tranche Opportunities

Bespoke tranche opportunities exist. Citigroup is a leading dealer in bespoke CDOs, having transacted $7 billion in bespoke CDOs in 2016. The bank provides a structured credit default swaps portfolio, which is the asset that is typically used to build CDOs. You will see more of these real world BTOs as you explore the world of investing.

Katya Ryder | School teacher, earned National Board Certification in 2013 I have a passion for science and majored in biology at Arizona State University, where I also earned teaching certificate and Master of Education


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