Seduced by CDOs

Cover Story

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In the last week of July 2004, Ken Gill, head of European CDOs at Fitch Ratings, had a problem. He had just learned, as a result of conversations with Risk, that €1.55 billion of highly complex single-tranche bespoke synthetic collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) transactions privately rated by Fitch between 2001 and 2002 were not held by a single sophisticated institutional investor, as he had previously believed.

Instead, these transactions were held by many tens of

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