Warren Buffett in 2002, loves collateralization:
We try to be alert to any sort of megacatastrophe risk, and that posture may make us unduly apprehensive about the burgeoning quantities of long-term derivatives contracts and the massive amount of uncollateralized receivables that are growing alongside. In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal. ... Unless derivatives contracts are collateralized or guaranteed, their ultimate value also depends on the creditworthiness of the counterparties to them. In the meantime, though, before a contract is settled, the counterparties record profits and losses – often huge in amount – in their current earnings statements without so much as a penny changing hands. The range of derivatives contracts is limited only by the imagination of man (or sometimes, so it seems, madmen).Buffett in 2008: collateralization is a deal-breaker:
Only a small percentage of our contracts call for any posting of collateral when the market moves against us. Even under the chaotic conditions existing in last year’s fourth quarter, we had to post less than 1% of our securities portfolio. ... This is the only derivatives business [credit default swaps] we write that has any counterparty risk; the party that buys the contract from us must be good for the quarterly premiums it will owe us over the five years. We are unlikely to expand this business to any extent because most buyers of this protection now insist that the seller post collateral, and we will not enter into such an arrangement.In other words, "collateralization for thee, but not for me." I'm fine with Buffett applying a double-standard to collateralization of derivatives; he is, after all, Warren Buffett.