Author: J. David Cummins
Securitization is one of the most important innovations of modern finance. The securitization process involves the isolation of a pool of assets or rights to a set of cash flows and the repackaging of the asset or cash flows into securities that are traded in capital markets. The trading of cash flow streams enables the parties to the contract to manage and diversify risk, to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities, or to invest in new classes of risk that enhance market efficiency. The cash flow streams to be traded often involve contingent payments as well as more predictable components which may be subject to credit and other types of counterparty risk. Securitization provides a mechanism whereby contingent and predictable cash flow streams arising out of a transaction can be unbundled and traded as separate financial instruments that appeal to different classes of investors. In addition to facilitating risk management, securitization transactions also add to the liquidity of financial markets, replacing previously untraded on-balance-sheet assets and liabilities with tradeable financial instruments.