What is a Collateralized Loan Obligation?

A collateralized loan obligation is a financial instrument that offers investors the chance to invest in the underlying assets of loans. CLOs are attractive because they offer higher yields than other types of investments like stocks or bonds.

You may be wondering what exactly a collateralized loan obligation or CLO is, and how it might help you with your investment portfolio? So keep reading to know more about Collateralized Loan Obligations

Collateralized Loan Obligation Definition

A collateralized loan obligation, or CLO, is a type of security that allows investors to pool their cash together and invest in the underlying assets of loans. To make this investment option possible, a corporation will purchase hundreds or thousands of individual loans from banks and financial institutions so that it can wrap them up into one package (the obligations). These obligations are then issued to investors who can collect interest payments and, if all goes well, eventually get their original investments back.

Conceptually, a CLO is similar to a real estate investment trust in that it offers the promise of collecting regular payments from individual loans. The key difference is that with the CLOs you can invest in a wide variety of loans, not REITs.

How Does Collateralized Loan Obligation Work

Like all other types of loans, collateralized loan obligations are made to those with good credit scores. Investors may also look for borrowers who have little or no debt and many years left before they need to pay off their loans so that they can get the best returns on their investment soon.

Loans range from anywhere between $50,000 and $20 million and have terms of anywhere between 4-10 years. After the loan has been issued, investment firms will then pool them together and make a new package that contains all the loans within it. With this new financial instrument for sale, they’ll go to potential investors like hedge funds or mutual funds to get capital.

CLOs do not offer any of the underlying loan itself, just an interest rate on top of the original.

As a general rule, investment firms will keep at least 10% of loans in reserve to handle those who defaulted on their debts. This means that if you plan to invest in this type of security, you’ve to make sure they screen for quality borrowers and rely on a backup reserve so you can get your money back if you want to.

As with any other type of investment, be sure to fully understand all the rules before taking part in this market. This will help you to avoid making any costly mistakes later on down the road.


A collateralized loan obligation is a type of investment that pools together different types of loans, such as mortgages and corporate bonds. Because it has different types of assets in the pool, it can offer investors more diversification than just buying one kind of asset like stocks or real estate. We hope this article gave you a better idea of what a Collateralized Loan Obligation is, and how it might fit into your investing portfolio.

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