Guilty or not?


Collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) have earned a bad reputation over the past 18 months. Since the credit crisis began in earnest in August 2007, financial institutions have suffered billions of dollars in mark-to-market losses on CDOs backed by tranches of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBSs), which in turn were referenced to pools of subprime mortgages. Some of these CDOs were backed by cash securities, while others were referenced to credit default swaps on super-senior tranches

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