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TheStreet Open House

Swaps Traders Look to Pull Ambac Trigger

Stock quotes in this article: ABK, UBS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Traders that hold over $1.5 billion in credit default swaps against Ambac Financial Group (ABK) debt are looking for a derivatives industry body to give them the green light to collect.

UBS AG (UBS) has submitted a request to a derivates-industry arbiter, asking "Has a Bankruptcy Credit Event occurred with respect to Ambac Financial Group, Inc.?"

That question is key since credit default swaps must be triggered before counterparty can collect on a trade.

The request was submitted today trough the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, according to its web site.

At the end of October, there was a total $1.56 billion in credit default swaps on Ambac debt outstanding, according to Bloomberg which cites Depository Trust Clearing Corp. data.

"The Americas Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee is currently reviewing the question regarding Ambac Financial Group. No announcement has been made at this time but any updates will be posted on the ISDA website," according to a statement from the ISDA.

Credit-default swaps pay the buyer if a referenced company fails to meet its payment on outstanding debt, or if it encounters a specific credit event such as bankruptcy.

Yesterday, Ambac filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy , one week after announcing it would miss an interest payment on a portion of its outstanding debt.

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