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A quick guide to basis point value, (BPV, DV01)

What is basis point value, (BPV)? How do traders use this?

BPV is a method that is used to measure interest rate risk. It is Traders can use BPV in order to adjust their exposure to interest
sometimes referred to as a delta or DV01. It is often used to rate risk. If a dealer expects interest rates to rise he will reduce the
measure the interest rate risk associated with swap trading books, BPV of the portfolio. If he expects rates to fall the BPV will be
bond trading portfolios and money market books. increased.

It is not new. It has been used for years. In many financial How do dealers adjust the BPV?
institutions it has been replaced or is used in conjunction with value Dealers adjust the BPV by altering the positions they have. Here is
at risk. an example. Let’s suppose a dealer expects interest rates to rise
and is long the $10m, 5 year bond from the previous example.
What does it show?
The dealer will want to reduce the BPV being run.
BPV tells you how much money your positions will gain or lose for a
0.01% parallel movement in the yield curve. It therefore quantifies
The BPV can be reduced by any of the following:
your interest rate risk for small changes in interest rates.

1. Selling the $10m 5 year bond and investing in a 3 month

How does it work? deposit. The BPV of a $10m 3 month deposit is
Let’s suppose you own a $10m bond that has a price of 100%, a approximately $250.
coupon of 5.00% and matures in 5 years time. Over the next 5
years you will receive 5 coupon payments and a principal 2. Selling another bond so the value of the long and short
repayment at maturity. You can value this bond by: positions give a lower net BPV.

A. Using the current market price from a dealer quote, or 3. Paying fixed interest on an interest rate swap so the BPV
of the swap and bond give a lower net BPV.
B. Discounting the individual bond cash flows in order to
find the sum of the present values 4. Selling interest rate or bond futures, again to reduce the
overall BPV of the portfolio.
Let’s assume you use the second method. You will use current
market interest rates and a robust method for calculating accurate
discount factors. (Typically swap rates are used with zero coupon What are the advantages of BPV?
methodology). The main advantages of BPV are:

For the sake of simplicity we will use just one interest rate to • It is relatively simple to calculate.
discount the bond cash flows. That rate is 5.00%. Discounting the
cash flows using this rate will give you a value for the 5 year bond • It is intuitively easy to understand and has gained
of $10,000,000. (How to do this using a financial calculator is widespread acceptance with dealers.
explained on the second page of this document).
• You can apply the same approach to financial
We will now repeat the exercise using an interest rate of 5.01%, instruments that have known cash flows. This means you
(rates have increased by 0.01%). The bond now has a value of can calculate BPVs for money market products and
$9,995,671.72. swaps.

There is a difference of $4,328.28. • You can also amalgamate all the cash flows from a
portfolio of transactions and calculate the portfolio BPV.
It shows that the 0.01% increase in interest rates has caused a fall
in the value of the bond. If you held that bond you would have lost • It can be used by dealers to calculate simple hedge
$4,328.28 on a mark-to-market basis. ratios. (If you are long one bond and short another you
can calculate an approximate hedge ratio from the ratio
This is the BPV of the bond. of the two BPVs, more on this later).

How do risk managers use this?

What are the disadvantages of BPV?
BPV is an estimate of the interest rate risk you have. You can
BPV has weaknesses, they are:
therefore use it to manage interest rate exposure.

• You may know the BPV but you do not know how much
Some firms do this by giving traders a maximum BPV that they are
the yield curve can move on a day-to-day basis.
permitted to run. For example, a limit where the portfolio BPV must
not exceed $20,000.
• BPV assumes that the yield curve moves up or down in a
parallel manner, this is not usually the case.
The more interest rate risk you are prepared to let dealers take the
higher the limit.
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Can anything be done to improve BPV? Hedge ratios
Yes. Firms that use BPV recognise these weaknesses and use Sometimes dealers construct trades that try to take advantage of
additional risk limits. Some of these limits capture the risks that anticipated changes in shape of the yield curve. For example they
dealers have from a non-parallel shift in interest rates. Risk may expect short term interest rates to increase and longer term
managers alter the shape of the yield curve. They make the yield rates to fall.
curve steeper or flatter around a particular maturity and look at the
impact that would generate on the P&L. Using the 3 year and 5 year bonds how could this trade be
Many firms have moved towards statistical techniques like value at
risk. This provides a probability of loss. BPV cannot do this. You sell the 3 year bond and buy the 5 year bond. Because the two
bonds have different BPVs you would want to weight or ratio the
Here is a quick approximation for BPV trade according to their relative risks.
In order to accurately calculate BPV you need a spreadsheet or
So if you bought $10m of the 5 year bond you would sell:
front office trading system that provides you with precise discount
factors from market interest rates. However if you want a quick 4,328/2,722 (BPV 5 year/BPV 3 year )x $10m =15.9m
approximation of basis point value the following may help, you will
of the 3 year bond.
need a financial calculator.
The BPV of the two trades would be zero. You have hedged parallel
Suppose you want to find the BPV of a $10m, 5 year bond with a changes in the shape of the yield curve but are exposed to the
coupon of 5% when interest rates are 5%. non-parallel change you wanted.

Input the following into your calculator:

Finally is BPV constant?

N = 5.00
I = 5.00% No. As interest rates increase, BPV falls. You can see this if you
PMT = 500,000 calculate the BPV for the 5 year bond using interest rates of
FV = 10,000,000 10.00% and 10.01% respectively.

Press PV and the calculator will give you 10,000,000 The BPV falls from 4,328.28, (using 5.00% and 5.01%), to
Repeat the exercise using 5.01% as the interest rate, I. $3,305.71.

The calculator now gives you $9,995,771.72 As interest rates rise the BPV falls. Sometimes this is referred to as
A difference of $4,328.28, the BPV of this bond convexity.

And for a 3 year bond? It can be important to traders because it can mean that the interest
Use the following: rate risk they have changes as interest rates move and any hedges
they are using may need to be rebalanced.
N = 3.00
I = 5.00%
For risk managers this has important implications too. If you are
PMT = 500,000
using interest rates derived from swap rates to calculate the BPV of
FV = 10,000,000
financial instruments and those instruments trade with credit
Press PV and the calculator will give you 10,000,000 spreads over or under swap rates then your BPV calculations will be
Repeat the exercise using 5.01% as the interest rate, I.

The calculator gives you $9,997,277.26

A difference of $2,722.73, the BPV of this bond

You can now see that longer dated bonds, (or swaps), give you
higher BPVs and therefore greater interest rate risk.

William Webster
Barbican Consulting Limited
Financial Markets Training
00 44 (0)20 79209128 Copyright © 2006 by BCL All rights reserved

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