Standardised house price appreciation scenarios should be used in the valuation of complex financial products such as mortgage backed CDOs, according to Julius Finance, CDO valuation technology provider. Peter Cotton, CEO of Julius Finance, explains that a “rigorous approach” is needed to accurately price these products.
Julius Finance provides standardised scenarios for corporate defaults using model fusion technology, says Cotton, who claims that its valuations are the first internally consistent methodology to be deployed in this space.
Cotton explains: “The old saying about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts does not apply to CDOs. For years, banks have been able to tranche up CDOs and sell the slices for more than the cost of the pie – with inconsistent valuation and ratings models not exactly standing in the way. Now, there is the possibility of the entire financial community playing that game on a vast scale with the taxpayer on the other end of the deal.”
Julius Finance’s solution involves a set of agreed standardised scenarios for home price appreciation, combined with detailed loan level modelling of prepayment and default based on millions of historical data points, he says. A precedent is provided by the American Academy of Actuaries, which provides standardised equity return and interest rate scenarios used by insurance companies in the calculation of risk based capital. The procedure ensures that securities cost the same as the sum of the constituent parts, he continues.
“What’s required is a rigorous approach, in the sense that one cannot magically create value by slicing, dicing and rearranging alone. This provides an important constraint on what might otherwise become a free for all,” Cotton concludes.