The Design of a Central Counterparty

John Kuong and Vincent Maurin

This paper analyzes the optimal allocation of losses via a Central Clearing Counterparty (CCP) in the presence of counterparty risk. A CCP can hedge this risk by mutualizing losses among its members. This protection, however, weakens members’ incentives to manage counterparty risk. Delegating members’ risk monitoring to the CCP alleviates this tension in large markets. To discipline the CCP at minimum cost, members offer the CCP a junior tranche and demand capital contribution. Our results endogenize key layers of the default waterfall and deliver novel predictions on its composition, collateral requirements, and CCP ownership structure.