Real Estate Investing 101: Asset-Backed Security

by Erin Fernschild 05/02/2021

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

The common understanding of an asset-based debt is a loan meant to be repaid with interest, over time, and backed by a physical asset such as a building or a car. The asset serves as collateral that can be claimed by the lender in case of borrower default.

An Asset-Based Security (ABS), however, in investment terminology, is somewhat different.

Even though the common understanding of an Asset-Backed Security (ABS) might be a loan that is based on an actual asset, such as a home or an automobile, that is only partially the case in investment terminology. By definition, the ABS represents a pool of debt -- usually a group of individual loans -- that can include any type of debt other than mortgages. It may include loans that are backed by real property, such as equipment, land, buildings, or business inventory, but not necessarily.

Mortgages are specifically excluded and classed separately today. The ABS evolved from the mortgage-backed securities that were first introduced in the 1980s, but a debt secured by a mortgage is today known as Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO). To make it more confusing, a CDO is a specific type of ABS.

An ABS represents other types of debt. Liability might be associated with an automobile loan, student loan debt, credit card debt, home equity loan or other types of loan debt that are to be repaid, with interest, over a specified period of time. Investors in asset-based securities assume the risk; the anticipation is that payment of outstanding principal and interest will be repaid as scheduled, so that investors will earn a reasonable rate of return. The risk is that borrowers may default on the loans, or that a collection process will delay repayment and involve unexpected costs. 

The relative risk and anticipated return depends on the way such loans are packaged and sold. And the packaging depends in part on the reasons an original lender has for wanting to transfer the liability.

The original lender, often a small bank, credit union or other type of funding agency, will "sell the paper" as part of a package to a larger investor. This is accomplished in many ways and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it is to better the creditor's financial position or to comply with government rules regarding loan percentages and cash reserves. Such a sale may also be an attempt to dispose of non-performing loans by transferring the burden of collections to another entity. 

Investment institutions package loans based on risk assessment. The loans are separated into three classes known as tranches. Risk and potential return are proportional: A higher-risk tranch also promises higher yield, while lower risk invariably holds potential for a lower interest rate return on investment.

Working with a knowledgeable financial advisor is recommended if you are interested in ABS investing. Almost any brokerage firm can be used for such investment.  

About the Author
Author

Erin Fernschild

With an undergraduate degree in International Marketing from William Paterson University and a wealth of business experience, Erin brings a unique set of knowledge and skills to both buyers and sellers. From helping buyers purchase their perfect home to maximizing a seller’s return, Erin combines drive, creativity, and attention to detail to ensure that each transaction is a success.

In 2016, Erin obtained her real estate license and joined the RealtyQuest team at Kinard Realty Group. Prior to joining Kinard Realty Group, Erin enjoyed a successful career in finance at powerhouse companies including Deutsche Bank, Bear Stearns, and Credit Suisse. In a variety of sales and marketing roles at those companies, she handled a broad range of responsibilities, including business development, new product development, product implementation, and product marketing.

She is a great listener and communicator and knows how to tailor each transaction with the least amount of difficulties to fully meet her clients’ needs. She is a natural people person who will work tirelessly on your behalf.

A New York City transplant, Erin loves everything about Fairfield and New Haven County. She is warm and energetic, and her enthusiasm for these areas is contagious. Erin is also very active in the Stratford Community, serving as a volunteer for St. James School Stratford-CT, member of the Lordship Improvement Association, and parishioner at Our Lady of Peace, Lordship-CT.

When not working on real estate, Erin loves spending time with her husband and two young children and enjoys skiing, running, boating, Barre classes, restaurants, and friends.

Her friendly style, tenacity, and technological abilities provide her clients with a competitive edge in challenging markets.