Our extensive capital markets expertise helps us structure and execute these strategies across all global markets. Not only do we have access to capital providers around the world, we have also helped many investors enter the capital markets and continue to distribute risk to them. Additionally, we help clients review strategic alternatives, acquisitions and divestitures.
Aon Benfield Capital Markets has successfully structured and placed the largest investment grade securitisation in the history of this market. Sophisticated investors will increase their participation in insurance risk, which will comprise an increasingly larger part of collateralized debt obligations. As with other capital industries and financial assets, the capital markets will, over time, provide our clients with a more efficient cost of capital. Non-property securitisations, such as auto and mortality securitisations, will become more frequent.
Credit spreads are at historic lows, providing compelling economic motivation to lock in multi-year protection. We advise our clients on credit-hedging strategies using CDO technology to protect against credit risk embedded in reinsurance recoverables. In 2007, the first insurance risk-only CDO was completed and we expect that insurance risk will become a larger asset underlying CDOs in the future. More than $200 billion of investment-grade and more than $70 billion of below-investment-grade CDOs were completed in 2006. Both are meaningful amounts compared with the aggregate level of capital in the reinsurance industry.
Probably the least utilised form of capital in recent years, contingent capital provides our clients with significant post-event capital at pre-event and pre-defined pricing and terms. This form of capital is less popular than other income protection strategies even though it effectively complements other capital management strategies.
Exposure swaps are a cost-effective capital management tool, facilitating the reduction of certain peak exposures while assuming other non-peak risks. We continue to expect that clients with global exposures will use this product more frequently in the future, as exposure swaps provide efficient capital relief for peak perils.
Our clients will continue to benefit from private capital on an opportunistic basis. Companies with proven track records and niche markets will benefit with a disproportionate amount of capital opportunities. A recent example is the prevalent use of sidecars, as capital from hedge funds and private equity aligned with companies possessing proven track records. Private capital will continue to ebb and flow based on opportunistic rates of return.