Deutsche Bank CoCo Holders See What Regulators Mean by Risk
By John Glover

When European regulators created a new type of bank debt, the idea was to transfer risk from taxpayers to investors. Now bondholders are learning what that really means. Yield-starved investors bought $102 billion of the contingent convertible bonds, securities created to help troubled banks hang onto cash in times of stress by skipping coupon payments without defaulting and converting the debt to equity or writing it down. Even though neither of those has yet happened, investors are already feeling the pain, as yields on Deutsche Bank AG’s 4.6 billion euros ($5.2 billion) of CoCos have soared and its shares have plummeted.  “CoCos are a perfect pro-cyclical storm — you can sell billions of them when investors are yield-chasing and thus careless of risk,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based research firm Federal Financial Analytics. “In a yield-chasing stampede like that of the last few years compounded by ultra-low rates for other bank funding sources, banking-system risk is dramatically heightened.”