Journal of Risk

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Portfolio allocation to corporate bonds with correlated defaults

Mark B. Wise, Vineer Bhansali

ABSTRACT

This article deals with the problem of optimal allocation of capital to corporate bonds in fixed income portfolios when there is the possibility of correlated defaults. Under fairly general assumptions for the distribution of the total net assets of a set of firms we show that retaining the first few moments of the portfolio default loss distribution gives an extremely good approximation to the full solution of the asset allocation problem. We provide detailed results on the convergence of the moment expansion. We also provide explicit results for the inverse problem, ie, for a given allocation to the set of risky bonds, what is the average risk premium required to make the portfolio optimal. Numerous numerical illustrations exhibit the results for realistic portfolios and utility functions.

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