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Consistent Proportion Debt Obligation (CPDO)

Constant Proportion Debt Obligation (CPDO)

What Is a Constant Proportion Debt Obligation (CPDO)?

Steady extent debt obligations (CPDO) are staggeringly complex debt securities that guarantee investors the high yields of junk bonds with the low-default risk of investment-grade bonds. CPDOs do this by rolling their exposure to the underlying credit indices they track, for example, the Thomson Reuters Eikon code (iTraxx) or the credit default swap index (CDX).

As the given index sheds or adds bonds in light of creditworthiness, a CPDO manager will limit default risk by refreshing their exposure, thus the term "steady extent." But the strategy leaves consistent extent debt obligations highly presented to spread volatility and at the risk of catastrophic loss.

Figuring out a Constant Proportion Debt Obligation (CPDO)

Steady extent debt obligations were created in 2006 by the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. The bank tried to make a high premium bearing instrument pegged to bonds with the most remarkable debt ratings against default. During a period of generally low bond rates, such a strategy was interesting to the managers of pension funds who looked for higher returns however were not allowed to invest in risky junk bonds.

CPDOs are like synthetic collateralized debt obligations as they are a "container" containing not genuine bonds, but rather credit default swaps against bonds. These swaps synthetically transfer gains from the bonds to the investor. Be that as it may, in contrast to synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), a CPDO is rolled over like clockwork. The turnover comes from buying derivatives on the old bond index and selling derivatives on another index. By constantly buying and selling derivatives on the underlying index, the manager of the CPDO will actually want to alter the amount of leverage it utilizes trying to make unexpected returns from index price spreads. It is an arbitrage of bond indices.

Be that as it may, this strategy is at root a twofold or-nothing, Martingale bet, which has been numerically exposed. Martingale is an eighteenth century game of chance where a bettor copies their bet with each losing flip of a coin on the theory that an eventual winning coin throw will gain back the entirety of their losses plus the first wagered. Among different limitations, the Martingale strategy possibly works in the event that a bettor has unlimited funds, which is never the case in reality.

Limitations of Constant Proportion Debt Obligations (CPDOs)

The principal CPDOs went under immediate examination after both Moody's and Standard and Poor's (S&P) rated them AAA investments. The agencies noticed that the strategy of rolling with the underlying AAA indices would relieve default risk. In any case, pundits zeroed in on the risk of spread volatility inherent in the strategy.

In average times, this risk was ostensibly small since investment-grade bond spreads will quite often return to mean. In that sense, the coin throw strategy could work. However, bond spreads are generally stochastic, meaning they are troublesome if difficult to foresee and, as a matter of fact, surprisingly couple of managers anticipated the credit crisis of late 2008 that loosened up numerous CPDOs.

The principal CPDO default came in November 2007 to a fund administered by UBS. It was the canary in the coal mineshaft, as bond spreads started spiking in advance of the 2008 market crash. As additional funds unwinded, the rating agencies Moody's and S&P fell under increased investigation for giving AAA ratings to CPDOs. As their credibility endured, Moody's found an internal software misfire that they expressed was partly responsible for the positive rating, albeit that never really made sense of S&P's rating.

In hindsight, the two agencies had assigned an effective zero risk likelihood of the 2008 event, and they likewise assigned a tiny likelihood to the more ordinary spread rise that happened in late 2007. The catastrophe of 2007 to 2008 made CPDOs the perfect example for excessively complex financial instruments and the head-in-the-sand confidence that makes them oppose gravity.


  • CPDOs roll their exposure to the underlying credit indices they track.
  • CPDOs are highly presented to spread volatility.
  • Fundamentally, CPDOs address the arbitrage of bond indices, and the strategy can lead to catastrophic loss.
  • CPDOs began defaulting in the early part of the Great Recession, and rating agencies, like S&P and Moody's, went under examination for rating CPDOs highly.
  • Consistent extent debt obligations (CPDOs) guarantee investors the high yields of junk bonds with the low-default risk of investment-grade bonds.