Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Finance

No 2007-230: Capital Structure Arbitrage: Model Choice and Volatility Calibration

Claus Bajlum and Peter Tind Larsen
Additional contact information
Claus Bajlum: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, A5, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Peter Tind Larsen: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, A5, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: When identifying relative value opportunities across credit and equity markets, the arbitrageur faces two major problems, namely positions based on model misspeci cation and mismeasured inputs. Using credit default swap data, this paper addresses both concerns in a convergence-type trading strategy. In spite of dierences in assumptions governing default and calibration, we nd the exact structural model linking the markets second to timely key inputs. Studying an equally-weighted portfolio of all relative value positions, the excess returns are insigni cant when based on a traditional volatility from historical equity returns. However, relying on an implied volatility from equity options results in a substantial gain in strategy execution and highly signi cant excess returns - even when small gaps are exploited. The gain is largest in the speculative grade segment, and cannot be explained from systematic market risk factors. Although the strategy may seem attractive at an aggregate level, positions on individual obligors can be very risky.

Keywords: na

JEL-codes: G12; G32

43 pages, January 1, 2007

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