# Structural Models II. Viral V. Acharya and Stephen M Schaefer NYU-Stern and London Business School (LBS), and LBS. Credit Risk Elective Spring 2009

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1 Structural Models II Viral V. Acharya and Stephen M Schaefer NYU-Stern and London Business School (LBS), and LBS Credit Risk Elective Spring 2009

2 Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 Source: Moody s-kmv 2

3 Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 Source: Moody s-kmv 3

4 What do we learn from these plots? The volatility of a firm s assets is a major determinant of its risk of default But how do we estimate it? We need to use Merton model more powerfully than just use distance to default computations... Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 4

5 Implementing Structural Models: Estimating Value and Volatility of Firms Assets Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 5

6 Firm Value and Volatility Structural models depend on value and volatility of firm assets neither is directly observable Value of equity = stock price x number of shares Problem is the value of debt which debt to include? (e.g., should some short-term debt be netted against short-term assets) what is value of debt? only part of total debt will be traded. total borrowings observed only in periodic accounts. Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 6

7 Unobservability of firm values The value of equity, viewed as a call on the firm, depends on V and σ V (as well as the observable variables (B, T, r)) Letting f denote the call pricing function, and suppressing dependence on the observable variables, we write E=f(V, σ V ) Under the Black-Scholes assumptions, E= f ( V, σ ) = V N( d ) e B N( d σ T ) where d = 1 V 1 ln( V / B) + ( r+ σ 2 ) T 2 V σv T rt 1 1 But we have two unknowns, so one equation is not enough Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 7

8 Unobservability of firm volatility Since equity is an option on form value, the volatility of equity, denoted σ E, is also a function of V and σ: σ E =g(v, σ) For example, in a Black-Scholes world, we have fv σ E = g( V, σ ) = σ V = σ V f N( d= ) E where f is the call pricing function and f V is the partial derivative of f with respect to V. It is essentially the N( d delta of equity with respect to firm value, 1) Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 8

9 Two equations, two unknowns Expressions for E and σ E give us two (non-linear) equations for two unknowns V and σ V in terms of - Equity Value E - Equity volatility σ E - Other observable variables (B, T, r). Since equity values are observable and equity volatility may be computed, we can use these three expressions to solve for the unknowns V and σ V. The associated spreadsheet provides a numerical illustration of this procedure using spreadsheet. Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 9

10 The MKMV Model The MKMV model uses a four-step procedure to track changes in credit risk for publicly-traded firms: 1. Identify the default point B to be used in the computation. - Set to Short-term liabilities * Long-term liabilities 1. Use the default point in conjunction with the firm s equity value and equity volatility to identify the firm value V and the firm volatility σ V. 2. Given these quantities, identify the number of standard deviation moves that would result in the firm value falling below B. This is the firm s distance-to-default. 3. * Use its database to identify the proportion of firms with distance-to-default who actually defaulted within a year. Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 10 This is the expected default frequency or EDF.

11 Distance-to-Default and EDF In principle, we should be able to compute default frequencies using - the distance-to-default, and - the probability distribution governing the evolution of V. However, it turns out that under the usual assumptions, this method underpredicts defaults by a large margin. - It is typical to assume normality in returns and value distribution. - reality is fat-tailed (leptokurtic) and extreme events are far more likely. Using the empirical database improves default predictions enormously. Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 11

12 Distance-to-Default and EDF (Cont d) For instance - For distance-to-default of 4.3, the EDF using KMV s database was 0.03%. Had we used normality, it would have been %! - For distance-to-default of 3.2, the EDF using KMV s database was 0.25%. Using normality, it would have been 0.069%! In fact, the default probabilities predicted by the Merton Model-which is based on normality-would imply that well over 50% of all US companies are AAA or better! So MKMV uses Merton model to rank credit risk of firms in a relative sense but does not use its absolute probability Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 12

13 Alternatively A direct alternative method use market value for equity (E) and equity volatility book value for total debt (D*) and market value of traded debt for debt volatility calculate V = E + D* and calculate leverage ratio Calculate asset volatility from debt and equity volatility, correlation and leverage: * E D R = R + R V V V E D 2 * 2 * 2 E 2 D 2 E D V = E + D + RE RD σ σ σ 2 cov(, ) V V V V Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 13

14 = L σ The Volatility of Corporate Assets All AAA AA A BBB BB B Quasi-Market Leverage Mean Std.Dev Equity Volatility Mean Std.Dev Estimated Asset Volatility Mean Std.Dev jt Quasi-market leverage ratio of firm j, time t Book Value of Debt (Compustat items 9 and 34) Book Value of Debt + Market Value of Equity Estimated asset volatility = (1 L ) σ + L 2 σ L (1 L ) σ, Ajt jt Ejt jt Djt jt jt ED jt Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 14

15 Bond Prices in the Merton Model Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 15

16 Bond Prices in the Merton Model Recall: The Black-Scholes value for a call on the firm assets with exercise price B, i.e., the value of equity, E, is: 1 ln( V / B) + ( r+ σ 2 ) T 2 V E = VN ( d ) PV ( B) N ( d ); d = and d = d σ T 2 1 V σ T Since the bond value, D, is the firm value minus the equity value: D = V E = V VN ( d1) PV ( B) N ( d2) = V (1 N ( d )) + PV ( B) N ( d ) 1 2 = VN ( d ) + PV ( B) N ( d ) since 1 N ( x) = N ( x) 1 2 Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 16

17 Understanding the Pricing Formula D = VN ( d ) + PV ( B) N ( d ) 1 2 N(d 2 ): is the risk-neutral probability of survival. (To see this, look at the expression for the default probability derived earlier and substitute the riskless rate for the expected return µ). Bond Payoff at Maturiy ` value of assets of firm at maturity ( million) The payoff in the case of survival (no-default) is B, and its value is therefore the risk-neutral expected payoff (BN(d 2 )) discounted at the riskless rate, i.e., PV(B)N(d 2 ). The first term, VN(-d 1 ), is the value of the payment in the case of default. risk-neutral prob of G555H survival D = VN ( dp) PV ( B) N ( dp) value of payment value of payment of (V) in default B if no default Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 17

18 Credit Spreads in the Merton Model The promised yield on the bond in the Merton model is y = r + s where s is the "credit spread" and y yt ( r+ s) T st D = e B e = B e PV ( B) is defined by: and D = VN ( d ) + PV ( B) N ( d ) 1 2 If we now define the quasi leverage ratio, L, as PV(B)/V, i.e., the debt-to-firm value ratio, but valuing the debt using the riskless rate, then we can express the spread simply as a function of L and σ Τ 1 1 ln(1/ L) 1 s = ln N( d1) + N( d2), where d1 = + σ T, and d 2 = d1 σ T T L σ T 2 Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 18

19 The Merton Model, contd. The credit spread depends on two variables: asset volatility and the quasileverage ratio: L=PV(B)/V As expected the credit spread is increasing with respect to both variables Even in this simple model the term structure of credit spreads can be upward sloping, downward sloping or hump shaped 3.0% 2.5% L= % 12.0% L=1.1 spread (% p.a.) 2.0% 1.5% 1.0% spread (% p.a.) 10.0% 8.0% 6.0% 4.0% Volatility = 20 Volatility = 25 Volatility = 30 Volatility = % Volatility = 25 Volatility = % 0.0% maturity (years) 0.0% maturity (years) Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 19

20 Merton model: spreads vs. leverage and volatility In the Merton model the spread over riskless rate increases with volatility and leverage (L) 4.5% spread (% p.a.) 4.0% 3.5% 3.0% 2.5% 2.0% 1.5% L= 30% L= 50% L= 70% 1.0% 0.5% 0.0% volatility (% p.a.) Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 20

21 The Merton Model: Limitations Merton model provides important insight into the problem of pricing default. But some limitations... the value of the firm, V, and its volatility hard to estimate (more on this later) constant risk-free rates cannot model relation between interest rate risk, asset risk and default risk. specification of default time restrictive default is never a surprise: so long as V>B default can never occur in next instant (Enron, Parmalat etc.) Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 21

22 Merton - Summary Important first step in modelling default Predictions of default are too low Predictions of credit spreads appear too low (more later) Occurrence of default only at maturity is major limitation BUT, inclusion of early default does not necessarily increase spreads. Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 22

23 Merton model Summary basis for all structural models of credit risk default probability and prices in Merton model concept of distance-to-default (used in MKMV is estimating default probabilities) Next Session: Models with early default default probabilities empirical evidence Acharya and Schaefer: Structural Models 2 23

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