Optimal Collateralization with Bilateral Default Risk

8 November 2013
Enrico Biffis
We consider over-the-counter (OTC) transactions with bilateral default risk, and study the optimal design of the Credit Support Annex (CSA). In a setting where agents have access to a trading technology, default penalties and collateral costs arise endogenously as a result of foregone investment opportunities. We show how the optimal CSA trades off the costs of the collateralization procedure against the reduction in exposure to counterparty risk and expected default losses. The results are used to provide insights on the drivers of different collateral rules, including hedging motives, re-hypothecation of collateral, and close-out conventions. We show that standardized collateral rules can have a detrimental impact on risk sharing, which should be taken into account when assessing the merits of standardized vs. bespoke CSAs in non-centrally cleared OTC instruments. This is joint work with D. Bauer and L.R. Sotomayor (GSU).