From CDO to Credit Crunch

From CDO to Credit Crunch

The Bear Stearns hedge funds became central players in the mortgage mess. Here's how:

• Bear raised $14 billion from four deals and attracted a new class of investors: money-market funds

• The funds' managers developed a CDO that sold short-term debt, giving buyers a guarantee from banks

• Its innovative CDO sparked copycats, including structured investment vehicles, many of which have blown up

• When the Bear funds imploded, investors stopped buying CDO debt, forcing banks to make good on refunds

• Such investments collected $400 billion and bought subprime securities, pumping up the real estate market

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