I am trying to create a simple risk calculation for the portfolio (ignoring correlations for the moment). I have some corporate bonds with limited daily price changes. Any one have ideas how I can get a VaR (95%) for these assets given their limited pricing history? Is there any easy way to use CDS for the name instead of corporate bond prices (if i can find a long enough history)
It's very common to work in spreads rather than price for this calculation. The simplest approach would be to get an implied spread for each bond, and then allow the spreads to vary in simulation according to an equity-style factor model. Each spread simulation can then be mapped back to bond prices by reversing the formula.
A few points: