Market finance

How securitization really works

In the winter of 1997, musician David Bowie issued $55 million worth of bonds backed by royalty revenue from 287 songs he had written and recorded before 1990. The bonds had a 10-year maturity, a Moody’s A3 rating, and a 7.9% interest rate (at the time, the 10-year Treasury yield was around 6.5%, so the spread was relatively modest). “Bowie bonds” were no accident: by the late 1990s, the U.S. financial system had evolved to the point where virtually any payment stream could be securitized.

The success of U.S. securitization – as an alternative to bank finance – is a key factor behind the current push of euro-area authorities to increase securitization...
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