Lehman Credit-Default Swaps Settle “Without Incident”

I received quite a few panicky emails about this settlement process being a potential disaster. Crisis averted:

"Hundreds of traders who placed bets on Lehman Brothers’ creditworthiness before it went bankrupt have settled their positions “without incident,” according to a company that tracks derivatives contracts.

The company, Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, processes large numbers of investment transactions. It said that only $5.2 billion had to change hands for all the traders to close out their positions, a much smaller amount than had been predicted a week ago.

The settlement process had been seen as a major test of the market for credit-default swaps, and whether it could handle the unprecedented stress of a big Wall Street firm going bankrupt. The overall system appears to have borne the shock successfully, although individual firms might have taken painful losses they have not yet disclosed.

At the same time, the contrast between this week’s orderly settlement process and last month’s financial turmoil, which also involved credit-default swaps, raised anew policy questions over the market for credit derivatives and its failure to limit systemic risk. Because the swaps are private contracts between two parties, there is still almost no information in the public domain over who holds which positions, or who might be left teetering the next time there is a major default."

Go figure . . .


Tracking Firm Says Bets Placed on Lehman Have Been Quietly Settled
NYT October 22, 2008

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