Subject: Bonds - Tranches

Last-Revised: 22 Oct 1997
Contributed-By: (anonymous), Chris Lott (contact me)

A 'tranche' (derived from the French for 'slice') is used in finance to define part of an asset that is divided (sliced, hence the term) into smaller pieces. A common example is a mortgage-backed security. One bank may only be interested in the payments at the longer end of the security's maturity, while another investment firm may want only the cash flows due in the near term. An investment bank can split the original asset into 'tranches' where each party (the bank and the investment firm) receive rights to the expected cash payments for particular periods. The two new assets are repriced, and the investment bank usually makes a tidy profit. This can be done with many assets, the goal being better marketablity of typically larger assets. If you want more information on how this is used in specific, I would think there would be data on the debt of less developed countries that has been consolidated, then sold in 'tranches' to investors in the developed worlds. The London Club is a group of commercial creditors which holds claim on the debt of Russia, for example.

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