Friday, April 23, 2010

Abacus for Dummies

Original posted on Alea:

First, a reference portfolio is constructed

Second, Paulson buys protection on the 45%/100% tranche (super senior) from Goldman Sachs, this is a bilateral trade with nothing to do with the Abacus SPV other than using the same reference portfolio.
This leaves Goldman Sachs short protection on the 45%/100% tranche.

Third, Goldman Sachs sells notes to IKB ($192 milion) and ACA ($42 million) => this leaves Goldman Sachs long protection (via purchase from the Abacus SPV) on the notes notional and short protection on the 45%/100% tranche.
Notes sold are well below what was expected in the “flipbook”.

Fourth, post-deal closing Goldman Sachs sells its long protection on the notes (acquired from the Abacus SPV) to Paulson => this puts back Goldman Sachs as short protection on the 45%/100% tranche

Fifth, more than a month after the deal closing, Goldman Sachs buys protection from ACA (through ABN/AMRO) on the 50%/100% tranche, this a bilateral trade with nothing to do with the Abacus SPV other than using the same reference portfolio => this leaves Goldman Sachs short protection on the 45%/50% tranche (5% of total notional).
The ACA deal (50% to 100% = 50%) is for $909 million notional, which implies a total notional of $1.8 billion for the deal, also below the level announced in the “flipbook”.

The deal goes sour and Goldman Sachs exposure is wiped out => $1.8 billion * 0.05 = $90 million

This a synthetic CDO referencing a static portfolio and protection was bought/sold NOT on the entire portfolio notional but only on the super senior tranche and the notes sold to qualified investors.

It is completely irrelevant whether Paulson was or wasn’t an equity investor as the deal doesn’t need an equity investor (and doesn’t have one).

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