Bloomberg on the Swap Market

It is surprising how unsophisticated the swap market is as described in this Bloomberg article. It seems that, when it counts, no one really knows anything about pricing/trading this instrument. Not even the supposed experts. This section of the article is almost humorous. This is how literally 10’s of millions of guarantees are put into place:

For most investors, just getting default-swap prices is a chore. Unlike stock prices, which are readily available because they trade on a public exchange, swap prices are hard to find. Traders looking up prices on the Internet or on private trading systems see information that is hours or days old.

`Terribly Primitive'

Banks send hedge funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors e-mails throughout the day with bid and offer prices, Backshall says. For many investors, this system is a headache.

To find the price of a swap on Ford Motor Co. debt, for example, even sophisticated investors might have to search through all of their daily e-mails, he says.

``It's terribly primitive,'' Backshall says. ``The only way you and I could get a level of prices is searching for Ford in our inbox. This is no joke.''

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