I was reading: http://people.stern.nyu.edu/igiddy/ABS/absasia.pdf

for a high level overview of the construction of Asset Backed Securities as I found out recently that securitization has come to an all time high.

Curiously when reading page 14 where it describes why the securitizations are expected to be correctly the author provides the following: "After all, the financial guarantee company stands to lose the most if something goes wrong, and it will do all it can to avoid losses"

Clearly this didn't hold true in 2008 where it was found that many of the ratings agencies felt pressured to offer inaccurate ratings for business. What has changed so that this is less likely to happen today?

1 Answer 1


You seem to be confused about what is being said--the ratings agency and financial guarantee company are completely different.

The page you are referencing is discussing assets that are being vetted by (1) the originator (2) a ratings agency (3) a financial guarantee company.

The financial guarantee company provides bond insurance, which means they are financially on the hook if the bond fails, unlike the ratings agency. They are therefore very careful not to guarantee any bonds that they can tell are poor quality.

The problem of ratings agencies not having very good incentives persists today. Moreover, many financial guarantee companies may not be able to do a good job evaluating risks, as was the case in 2008. But it is the position of the article you are reading that they are well incentivized to do a good job. This does not necessarily represent a change from the situation in 2008.

The major change since 2008 is that all these companies now have historical precedent of failure guiding their decisions, which their 2008 equivalents did not. It's hard to assign a risk level to an asset that has never had problems since its creation, which was the 2008 situation. Please note that this last paragraph is my own commentary, not a clarification of what the paper says.

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