Cross-Border Resolutions: FDIC and Bank of England Release White Paper

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On December 10, 2012, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the Bank of England released a white paper, Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions, describing how each would resolve a materially distressed or failing financial institution that is globally active and systemically important (“G-SIFI”) in order to maintain the G-SIFI’s ongoing and viable operations, and contain any threats to financial stability. The paper reflects the work of U.S. and UK authorities in developing resolution strategies for the failure of G-SIFIs in accordance with standards developed by the Financial Stability Board, but does not go into detail on the strategic options that may be available.

The white paper warrants the close attention of G-SIFIs and their stakeholders, particularly their unsecured debtholders. The paper memorializes the consensus view of the FDIC and the Bank of England that a top-down or single-point-of-entry approach is the preferred (although not the sole) method of resolving a G-SIFI. This approach could transform certain unsecured debt into equity or convertible debt and should cause G-SIFIs to review their organizational structure. Also of interest are the FDIC’s and Bank of England’s perspectives on the critical powers and preconditions for a successful resolution and what legislative or regulatory changes may be necessary.

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