The decision to wipe out Credit Suisse’s AT1 bonds has prompted frantic questions among investors. Among them: Why were bondholders wiped out when shareholders weren’t?
“What’s shocking is that it looks like equity holders will recover better than tier 1 bondholders,” said Justin D’Ercole, co-founder of ISO-MTS Capital Management LP, a fund focused on bank securities. The resulting losses will likely prompt individual and institutional investors to sell similar securities of other European banks, he said.
Traditionally, bondholders rank above equity holders in capital structure. But the Credit Suisse bonds were outliers from other European banks, because they provided for a case where regulators could write them down without wiping out equity holders.