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Korean Insurer Puts CDO Investments On Hold

Seoul-based insurer Kyobo Life Insurance has decided to put on hold investments in synthetic collateralized debt obligations while it awaits the credit market's reaction to the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the war in Afghanistan, according to Bum-Jun Lee, general manager of the fixed-income department. He added that when it does invest it will likely buy a portion of an equity tranche, along with a rated tranche.

The firm has invested in two synthetic CDOs in the past year, including an equity tranche and an arbitrage CDO, Lee added, declining to elaborate. He declined to disclose the amount the firm intends to invest.

The CDOs will likely be primarily based upon Korean credits, as well as a few selective U.S. names. Lee added that several top players among the international banks have been pitching ideas to the insurer, but declined to name them. Counterparties will be selected not only on pricing but market reputation as well as service. Kyobo Life has a fixed-income portfolio of USD5 billion.

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