Orange County

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derivative disaster at Orange county

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Arnab Roy (12PGP011) Abhishek Mukherjee (12PGP056) Anurag Rai (12PGP064) Shauvik Ghosh (12PGP095) Soumya C (12PGP097)

Robert Lafee Citron was a Democratic Party politician who was the longtime Treasurer-Tax Collector of Orange County, California Citron - managed a $7.5 billion portfolio belonging to:
County schools Cities Special districts Orange county

In December 1994, Orange County announced that its investment pool had suffered a loss of $1.6 billion.
This was the largest loss ever recorded by a local government investment pool

It led to the bankruptcy of the county shortly thereafter.

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Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Until the debacle, Citron was viewed as an investment wizard.

He had delivered returns about 2% higher than the comparable State pool.

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Indian Institute of Management Raipur

The Portfolio
Citron was leveraging the portfolio and investing in derivatives securities. The $7.5 billion of investor equity was leveraged into a $20.5 billion portfolio.

Citron pledged his securities as collateral and reinvested the cash in new securities (reverse repurchase agreements), mostly 5-year notes.
The portfolio leverage magnified the effect of movements in interest rates.

15-Dec-13 12/15/2013 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Indian Institute of Management Raipur

“Bob Citron was betting that interest rates would fall or stay low.”

15-Dec-13 12/15/2013 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Effect of Change in Interest Rate Change
Without leverage: Relative price Change = -(4) (Yield Change)($100 million)/(1+y) With 3:1 leverage Price Change = - (3)(4)(Yield Change) ($300 million)/(1+y)

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Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Increasing current income since the medium-term maturities had higher yields than short-term investments.

On December 1993, for instance, short-term yields were less than 3%, while 5-year yields were around 5.2%.

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Indian Institute of Management Raipur

With a positively sloped term structure of interest rates, the tendency was to increase the duration of the investment to pick up an extra yield. This boost comes at the expense of greater risk. The strategy works well as long as interest rates go down.
However, in February 1994, the Federal Reserve Bank started a series of 6 consecutive interest rate increases.

15-Dec-13 12/15/2013 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Indian Institute of Management Raipur

The large duration led to a $1.6 billion loss.

15-Dec-13 12/15/2013 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Indian Institute of Management Raipur

The effective duration of the pool was reported by the state auditor as 7.4 years in December 1994.

This high duration is the result of two factors: The average duration of individual securities of 2.74 years The leverage of the portfolio, which was 2.7 at the time.

In 1994, interest rates went up by about 3%. The loss predicted by the duration approximation stands at $1.6 billion.
15-Dec-13 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

The county Supervisors had to decide in December of 1994 whether to liquidate the portfolio or maintain the strategy. At that time, interest rates were still on an upward path. It was feared that the Fed would raise rates further.

15-Dec-13 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

By liquidating the pool in December 1994, the county locked in a loss of $1.6 billion. Soon after liquidation, interest rates went down by about 2.5%. Opportunity loss = $1.4 billion.

15-Dec-13 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

The county, fortunately, fared much better than had been feared. It was able to raise a 20-year $800 million bond issue to repay creditors and exited bankruptcy in June 1996. Part of the loss was recovered from civil lawsuits settlement.

The county took legal action against Wall Street brokers, its auditor and bond counsel.
Most notably, the county has recovered $437 million from Merrill Lynch. The total recovery amounted to $865 million, much more than what was anticipated.

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Bob Citron was later found to have transferred money-losing securities from the county's account to the investment pool, saddling other investors with $271 million in loses. He pleaded guilty to six felonies, served an 8-month sentence in day-jail and was fined $100,000. The municipal bond market was also badly hit by the bankruptcy. Municipal investments suddenly appeared vulnerable to default. Munis generally dropped in price relative to Treasuries, which in effect raises the cost of capital for all municipalities around the country. John Moorlach, the new Treasurer, has instituted new investment policies for the investment pool.

15-Dec-13 Indian Institute of Management Raipur

THANK YOU !

15-Dec-13

Indian Institute of Management Raipur

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