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Montevideo, November 15th 2018 - 12:51 UTC

Capital Markets accept review of sovereign default and making terms extensive to all bondholders

Saturday, August 30th 2014 - 11:06 UTC
Full article 24 comments
The new clauses are “a bit like planting an oak tree. You are looking at a 10-year horizon when this will take hold” said Leland Goss, ICMA general counsel. The new clauses are “a bit like planting an oak tree. You are looking at a 10-year horizon when this will take hold” said Leland Goss, ICMA general counsel.

The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) published on Friday the revised framework that allows a majority of investors holding sovereign bonds that default to make changes to the terms, such as extending maturities or reducing the principal.

 These changes would then be made legally binding on all holders of the bonds, including those who vote against the restructuring.

The ICMA move comes a month after Argentina was pushed into default when a small group of US hedge funds rejected the country's 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings.

“Our analysis is that this takes out a lot of the uncertainty surrounding sovereign default,” said Louis Gargour, chief investment officer at London-based hedge fund LNG Capital.

ICMA said revisions to so-called collective action clauses, CAC, and a new standard pari passu clause, which refers to all creditors being treated the same, would provide a practical solution to the problem of blocking minorities.

“The potential adverse fallout globally from the default and restructuring of Argentina's debt demonstrates the importance of having clear, unambiguous contract terms for sovereign bonds,” said Leland Goss, ICMA's general counsel.

“In-depth consultations with our members and other interested public and private sector representatives have led to the development of enhanced legal technology that will make more orderly and efficient sovereign debt restructurings achievable in the future,” Goss added.

However, it could take many years for the changes to take full effect as the market participants cannot force governments to apply them in practice.

“The new pari passu clause overcomes a ruling in the New York court for future issuance, but governments have to take up these changes. However, they have been slow to change the status quo historically and tend to be conservative,” Goss told reporters.

“You have a lot of sovereign bonds outstanding and they can't be changed retroactively. It's a bit like planting an oak tree. You are looking at a 10-year horizon when this will take hold,” he added.

Collective action clauses are already legally binding on Euro zone government bonds in the Euro area countries, a result of the debt crisis in the region where Greece, Portugal and Ireland had to be rescued.

ICMA represents 450 members such as banks, debt issuers and investors from 52 countries.

Top Comments

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  • ilsen

    Am I right in think that this will only apply to future bond issues, and only if the Gov.s issuing future bonds agree?
    I wonder if Argentina will try to argue to somehow 'retro-fit' this?

    Aug 30th, 2014 - 11:18 am 0
  • bushpilot

    So it will be easier for a government to not pay back what they borrowed and harder for a bond holder to insist they are paid back what was promised.

    Instead of facilitating a country in defaulting, why doesn't the IMCA instead develop a framework that “facilitates” a country to use borrowed money wisely and then pay that borrowed money back?

    Aug 30th, 2014 - 11:20 am 0
  • ChrisR

    Something else will occur in the future to allow scofflaws like TDC to continue to rip-off those stupid enough to trust them.

    Aug 30th, 2014 - 11:24 am 0
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