May 08, 2012
That's A Lot Of Collateral
Posted by David Zaring

From Morgan Stanley's 10-Q:

In connection with certain OTC trading agreements, the Company may be required to provide additional collateral or immediately settle any outstanding liability balances with certain counterparties in the event of a credit ratings downgrade. At March 31, 2012, the aggregate fair value of OTC derivative contracts that contain credit-risk-related contingent features that are in a net liability position totaled $34,669 million, for which the Company has posted collateral of $28,717 million, in the normal course of business. The long-term credit ratings on the Company by Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) are currently at different levels (commonly referred to as “split ratings”). At March 31, 2012, the following are the amounts of additional collateral termination payments or other contractual amounts that could be called by counterparties under the terms of such agreements in the event of a downgrade of the Company’s long-term credit rating under various scenarios: $135 million (A3 Moody’s/A- S&P) and $3,432 million (Baa1 Moody’s/ BBB+ S&P). Of these amounts, $2,883 million at March 31, 2012 related to bilateral arrangements between the Company and other parties where upon the downgrade of one party, the downgraded party must deliver incremental collateral to the other party.

As Dealbook observes, all told, Morgan Stanley would have to come up with $7.2 billion in collateral if Moody's downgrades its credit rating three notches.

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