Bridge over ocean
1 May 1994 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 50, Issue 3

Pricing Swap Default Risk

  1. Eric H. Sorensen
  2. Thierry F. Bollier
With the growth in the market for interest rate swaps has come a growing need to understand the potential default risks of these instruments. In general, swap participants can deal with default risk by seeking to mitigate it (by dealing only with AAA-rated counterparties, for example). Alternatively, potential counterparties can attempt to come to some agreement about the degree of default risk and use that knowledge to "price" their positions. A model of swap default risk evaluates jointly the probability of the swap counterparty defaulting and the cost (or impact) of the default for the solvent party. The model helps to establish the correct level for a swap between risky (or potentially risky) parties. The key considerations are the swap parties' credit conditions and the shape and volatility of the yield curve.
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