A Blueprint for Contingent Convertible Securities?


It has probably not escaped the attention of the reader that European banks, and their ability to meet their continuing funding needs, have been some of the principal victims of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of the Eurozone, due to their exposures to Eurozone sovereign debt. As part of its general efforts to increase market confidence in European banks, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a Recommendation on 8 December 2011 as to the creation and maintenance of temporary capital buffers by European banks.

The EBA recommends that European banks should have created, by 30 June 2012, a temporary capital buffer by attaining a Core Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 9 percent.

The Core Tier 1 capital ratio is to be calculated by comparing a bank’s Core Tier 1 capital to its risk-weighted assets. “Core Tier 1 capital” is defined to include ordinary shares or similar instruments, but also newly-issued contingent convertible instruments if their terms comply with a new common term sheet for such instruments (“Buffer Convertible Capital Securities” or “BCCS”) set out by the EBA in Annex III to the Recommendation. This represents the first time that a European banking authority has laid down in such detail the core terms that such an instrument should possess in order to count as Tier 1 capital. Existing convertible capital instruments of European banks will not be counted towards the 9 percent ratio, unless they convert into Core Tier 1 capital by the end of October 2012.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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