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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The EU "Master Plan"

The EU has decided to try to stop the ongoing meltdown of the Eurozone, by publishing new crisis management measures to avoid future bank bail-outs. The aim is to ensure losses are borne by bank shareholders and creditors, and minimise costs for taxpayers.

The main resolution tools are the following:
  • The sale of business tool whereby the authorities would sell all or part of the failing bank to another bank;
  • The bridge institution tool which consists of identifying the good assets or essential functions of the bank and separating them into a new bank (bridge bank) which would be sold to another entity. The old bank with the bad or non-essential functions would then be liquidated under normal insolvency proceedings;
  • The asset separation tool whereby the bad assets of the bank are put into an asset management vehicle. This tool cleans the balance sheet of a bank. In order to prevent this tool from being used solely as a state aid measure, the framework prescribes that it may be used only in conjunction with another tool (bridge bank, sale of business or write-down). This ensures that while the bank receives support, it also undergoes restructuring;
  • The bail-in tool whereby the bank would be recapitalised with shareholders wiped out or diluted, and creditors would have their claims reduced or converted to shares. An institution for which a private acquirer could not be found, or which could be complicated to split up, could thus continue to provide essential services without the need for bail-out by public funds, and authorities would have time to reorganise it or wind down parts of its business in an orderly manner. To this end, banks would be required to have a minimum percentage of their total liabilities in the shape of instruments eligible for bail-in. If triggered, they would be written down in a pre-defined order in terms of seniority of claims in order for the institution to regain viability.
Sadly, as with all EU "plans", there is a caveat. Even if these "plans" were to be enacted and to be effective, they will not come into force until 2014 at the very earliest.

These "plans" are therefore of no help or hope to the millions of people in Europe who are now unemployed, and to the millions of people who have seen their taxes squandered by EU politicians and Eurocrats who are frozen with fear and indecision like rabbits in the headlights of the oncoming financial juggernaut.

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