Credit Swap, also known in some circles as a Credit Default Swap is one of the most basic credit derivatives. Here in this transaction, one party called the Protection Buyer in return for a payment by the other party called the Protection Seller makes a periodic payment, which is dependent on the happening of some agreed-upon event that is related to an original credit.
To quote a simple example that may have a buyer, who has a public security of Corporation A, that pays a monthly fee to the seller. On the other hand the seller has a commitment to make a prearranged payment to the buyer. However, this commitment comes up only in the event of Corporation A, which is being declared as insolvent. Thus the flexibility is apparent when both the parties recognize that the terms can be negotiated between them and can also associate to further aspects that might be other than the fees and payment such as the "event" that starts the payment that may be the decrease of a credit rate, and a restructuring of Corporation A's debt, along with the level of specificity or complexity that has been agreed upon.
Understanding the Applications of Credit Default Swap
In order to know the applicability of the credit default swap, one should firstly understand as to what is meant by credit swap. It is a swap in which one of the counter parties gets payment at pre-set intermission in order to consider for guarantee to make a specific payment when a negative credit event take place. One possible type of credit event for a credit default swap is a downgrade in the credit status of some preset entity. Example:
Bank 1 - First Chilliwack Bank
Bank 2 - Banque de Bas.
An extensive loan has been made by Chilliwack in its corporate credit portfolio to a property developer known as Churchill Developments. But it seemed that for some kind of insurance against a downgrade of Churchill by the major ratings agency, the possibility of this main project taken on by Churchill has been running into unanticipated delays.
Therefore, Chilliwack approached to Banque de Bas along with the concept of a credit default swap or say credit swap, which means that in exchange they pay Banque de Bas a payment every six months for the next five years for which in return de Bas has agreed to make payments to Chilliwack of a pre-set amount.
Thus, now De Bas has exposure to Churchill, which is having a position they could not have been able take directly since they are not part of Churchill's lending association. Furthermore, Chilliwack to some degree has protection against a Churchill credit downgrade. However, this reduction means in their overall credit profile that they do not require holding as much capital in reserve, and making Chilliwack free in order to take other business opportunities as they present themselves.
Instruments in Credit Swap
At a premium, the corporate bonds trade to the risk-free yield curve in the same currency where the United Sates Corporate Bonds trade at a premium to the U.S. Treasury curve, which is also known as a credit spread. This credit spread is unstable in the manner of in and of itself and may be associated with the level of interest rates.
For instance, in a low interest rate and in a declining environment that is combined with strong domestic growth, one may expect corporate bond spreads to be smaller than their historical average.
The corporate that has issued the bond may find it much easy to service the cash flows of the corporate bond. The investors on the other hand may be greedy for any sort of premium they can add to the risk-free rate. Furthermore, the year 1998 was dynamic for corporate bond spreads, which had the backup in interest rates and in the aftermath of the Russian devaluation-inspired liquidity crisis that was concentrated mainly in corporate yields. However, the instability of these spreads was tremendous when compared to their historical movement, where the credit swaps was an excellent way to play the spread volatility.
In addition, credit swaps especially that is much based on a spread index, are clean structures that have no disordered difficulty of locating individual corporate bond supply, etc.
Exchange of Fixed Flows
Furthermore, a credit swap can also be the exchange of fixed flows against paying floating rate flows, where fixed flows is determined by the production on a corporate bond at inception and the floating rate flows is tied to the risk-free Treasury rate for the corresponding maturity.
Moreover, the credit swaps are flexible in their design in a natural manner. Thus, if one can imagine a cash flow exchange, then the structuring of the swap can be imagined too.
Strategy for Management of Funds through Credit Swap for Financial Institutions
Here if the fund manager specialized in corporate bonds and has a view on the direction of credit spreads on which he act without taking a specific position in an individual corporate bond or a corporate bond index. Thus, one way for the fund manager to take advantage of this view is to go into a credit swap.
At this stage the fund manager believes that credit spreads may be tighten along with the interest rates that continue to go in decline. He may then enter into a credit swap in which he pays the corporate yield at six-month intervals against receiving a fixed yield equal to the inception Treasury yield along with the corporate credit spread. This is almost following the same principles, as done by the two banks: Chilliwack and Banque de Bas.
Thus, the fund manager at the six-month reset for the tenor of the swap agrees to pay a flow of cash determined to be balance to the existing annual yield either on some benchmark corporate bond or corporate bond index in order to receive a fixed cash flow.
Therefore, this off-balance sheet transaction and the swap will have zero value at inception. Therefore, if corporate yields continue to fall that is through a combination of a lower risk-free rate and a lower corporate credit spread than the one he locked in with the swap, he will make money, but on the other hand if corporate yields rise, he will lose the money.
Advantages in Credit Swaps
Risk Neutral Pricing Strategy
How risk neutral pricing theory can be applied to price a credit default swap or credit swap cab be known when the price is obtained by clearly constructing a hedge from the underlying cash market instruments.
Here the credit default swap is the most straightforward type of a credit derivative, which has an agreement between two counter parties that permits one counter party to be "long" a third-party credit risk, and the other counter party to be "short" the credit risk. In other words, one counter party is selling insurance and the other counter party is buying insurance against the default of the third party.
To further insight this kind, lets suppose that two counter parties, known as a market maker and an investor, both move into a two-year credit swap by specifying what is called the reference asset. This is a particular credit risky bond that is issued by a third-party corporation or sovereign.
In simple words, let us suppose that the bond has exactly two years' remaining maturity and is currently trading at par value where the market maker agrees to make regular fixed payments, which has the same frequency as the reference bond for two years to the investor. Then in exchange of this the market maker has all the right. However, at any time if the third party defaults within those two years, the market maker has to make his regular fixed payment to the investor and places the bond to the investor in exchange for the bond's par value along with the interest.
Implications of the Strategy
The credit swap or default swap is thus a contingent put, where the third party must default before the put is activated. Here in this example there is small difference in terms of risk between the credit swap and the reference bond since the swap and the bond have the same maturity, and the market maker successfully is short the bond and the investor is long the bond. However, in the real world, it usually happens that the bond tenor is longer than the swap tenor meaning that the swap counter parties have exposure to credit risk, but do not have exposure to the full market risk of the bond.
Thus, this above example clarifies as to how the instrument is priced. However, pricing the credit swap involves determining the fixed payments from the market maker to the investor, which in this case is ample to extract the price from the bond market and so one does not require modeling default or any other complicated credit risk process.