De-securitizing CDOs

This might sound crazy, but…

With the absurdity of some of the tranching in the mortgage securitization process — some parts of a single mortgage rated AAA and others parts labeled something less despite the underlying risk being identical — I was curious if it were possible to de-securitize these collateralized debt obligations?

If there is a mechanism by which this can be done, it seems to me that a savvy investor with sufficient time and analytical resources could make a killing by de-securitizing and re-assembling or re-packaging the pieces of mortgages that are actually good investments. Particularly if significant percentages of good-risk mortgages are labeled as less than AAA or AA. You wouldn’t even necessarily have to hold these new CDOs for the lifetime of the mortgage. If you could demonstrate how you assessed risk and bought up these mortgage bits, you could re-package and sell these to investors as new CDOs — once they’re done being afraid of the CDO market, which could take a very long time indeed.

Not everyone that bought a home in the last 5-10 years was a deadbeat, and I have no doubt that there are some bargains hidden in the paper wreckage. Not being familiar with finance law, I don’t know if a legal vehicle exists to de-securitize these CDOs. Any kind of illumination would be most welcome…

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