CLOs – “Safe” CDOs – Are Booming Again

Last week we explained how junk bond managers were buying increasing amounts of equities to ‘juice’ their portfolios and propel their funds higher in the performance rankings.
While this struck us as a relatively recent development, the tried-and-trusted method of trading more risk for more yield is going gangbusters in the CLO (Collateralized Loan Obligations) market in 2017…
In ‘Hunt for Yield Fuels Another Boom in Another Complex, Risky Security’, the WSJ notes:
‘The CLO boom is the latest sign of the ferocious hunt for yield permeating markets. Stellar performance over the past year has made CLOs increasingly hard to ignore for investors like insurance companies and pension funds. CLOs carve up a portfolio of bank loans to highly indebted companies into slices of securities with different levels of risk.
The securities at the bottom of the CLO stack offer the highest potential source of returns, but they are also the first to absorb losses if there are defaults in the underlying loan portfolio. The more senior slices offer lower returns but are more insulated from losses. CLOs are often lumped together with other alphabet-soup acronyms of the financial crisis, such as more toxic CDOs, or collateralized debt obligations. But CLOs actually weathered the financial crisis well: Investors who bought at the top of the market in 2007 suffered paper losses, but there were no defaults at all for the highest-rated securities.’
The ‘boom’ terminology applied by the WSJ for 2017 is apt:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.

 

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