Assignment of Trade – Definition & Explanation

Cite this article as:"Assignment of Trade – Definition & Explanation," in The Business Professor, updated March 3, 2020, last accessed October 20, 2020,


What is Assignment of Trade?

An assignment of trade (AOT) is a tri-party agreement in the trade of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in which a party in the initial agreement assigns his obligation to a third party. An assigned trade occurs when a counterparty in a forward contract or trade makes a separate deal with a third party to assign him his obligations. Assignment of Trade (AOT) can also occur in other trades where the seller who has an agreement with the buyer contacts a middleman or a broker-dealer to execute this transaction.

How does Assignment of Trade affect the To-Be-Announced Trade Market?

In the United States, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)  has made AOT a formal process. Assignments of trade are used to avoid the need to deliver or receive deliveries from a To-Be-Announced (TBA) trade. Assignments can be used to facilitate the pricing and purchase of loans by a third party to whom the trade is assigned. Hence, the third party or assignee is responsible for making the delivery of a mortgage-backed security to the initial TBA trade.

Through AOT, the originator of a mortgage can reverse its hedge position by assigning his obligations to a third party.

How does Assignment of Trade Work?

Essentially, AOT is a strategy that helps assignors eliminate risk by moving book mortgages. The assignor unwinds his hedge position in the MBS, the security must be delivered to the other party.

Mr. A is an assignor who attempts to create a hedge against some risks related to a loan he issued. He enters a future contract with a broker in which he sells a mortgage-backed security to the broker for future delivery. Now, the broker is expecting to receive the security at a future date, and the assignor has the obligation to deliver the security. If the assignor then enters into a different agreement with an investor (assignee) who is interested in taking the loans and fulfilling the assignor’s obligation to the broker, an assignment of trade has occurred.

Once an agreement is made between the assignor and assignee, the assignee holds the loan, benefits from interest rates and profits of the  loan but also faces the default risk of that loan. The assignee is also responsible for the delivery of the MBS to the broker at a future time.

Academic Research on Assignment of Trade

[PDF] A letter from, Hanson, M. (2004). A letter from.

[PDF] A Close Look at Audit Standards and Best Practices How to Validate the Existence of an Asset, Lebron, L. (2018). A Close Look at Audit Standards and Best Practices How to Validate the Existence of an Asset.

Assignment of Trade Marks and Trade Names, Grismore, G. C. (1931). Assignment of Trade Marks and Trade Names. Mich. L. Rev.30, 489.

Traffic in Trade-Symbols, Isaacs, N. (1930). Traffic in Trade-Symbols. Harv. L. Rev.44, 1210.

On cost-efficiency of the global container shipping network, Song*, D., Zhang, J., Carter, J., Field, T., Marshall, J., Polak, J., … & Woods, J. (2005). On cost-efficiency of the global container shipping network. Maritime Policy & Management32(1), 15-30. This paper presents a simple formulation in the form of a pipe network for modelling the global container-shipping network. The cost-efficiency and movement-patterns of the current container-shipping network have been investigated using heuristic methods. The model is able to reproduce the overall incomes, costs, and container movement patterns for the industry as well as for the individual shipping lines and ports. It was found that the cost of repositioning empties is 27% of the total world fleet running cost and that overcapacity continues to be a problem. The model is computationally efficient. Implemented in the Java language, it takes one minute to run a full-scale network on a Pentium IV computer.

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