Despite the damage attributed to them during the 2008 credit market crisis, synthetic collateralized debt obligations are once again in high demand among investors. The popularity of these risky investments, with their high returns and rock-bottom interest rates, are so high that even after being denounced by investors and a lot of lawmakers back in the day, now Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM ) in London are among those seeking to package these instruments.
CDOs allow investors to bet on a basket of companies’ credit worthiness. While the basic version of these instruments pool bonds and give investors an opportunity to put their money in a portion of that pool, synthetic CDOs pool the insurance-like derivatives contracts on the bonds. These latest synthetic CDOs, like their counterparts that existed during the crisis, are cut up into varying levels of returns and risks, with investors wanting the highest returns likely buying portion with the greatest risk.
Granted, synthetic CDOs do somewhat spread the risk. Yet, also can increase the financial harm significantly if companies don’t make their debt payments.