The ongoing crisis since 2008 have given the birth to lot of new jargon’s and terminologies in the world of financial market, I had tried to accumulate few of them from various sources and then will highlight an arbitrage strategy.
- [h]ypothecation is when a borrower pledges collateral to secure a debt. The borrower retains ownership of the collateral but is “hypothetically” controlled by the creditor, who has a right to seize possession if the borrower defaults.
In the U.S., this legal right takes the form of a lien and in the UK generally in the form of a legal charge. A simple example of a is a mortgage, in which a borrower legally owns the home, but the bank holds a right to take possession of the property if the borrower should default.
In investment banking, assets deposited with a broker will be hypothecated such that a broker may sell securities if an investor fails to keep up credit payments or if the securities drop in value and the investor fails to respond to a margin call (a request for more capital).
- Re-hypothecation occurs when a bank or broker re-uses collateral posted by clients, such as hedge funds, to back the broker’s own trades and borrowings. The practice of re-hypothecation runs into the trillions of dollars and is perfectly legal. It is justified by brokers on the basis that it is a capital efficient way of financing their operations much to the chagrin of hedge funds.
It is an arbitrage strategy that looks to profit/earn carry from the difference between CDS and Bond market pricing of credit risk. Typically it is created by buying bonds and simultaneously buying CDS protection (a hedge) to lock in a perceived valuation difference]
So if banks were selling bonds and selling hedges, then it would show up as reduced bond exposure but increased CDS exposure (they sell bonds, and sell CDS).