LONDON May 22 European Union regulators have
proposed tighter safeguards on sales of the type of securitised
debt that became untradable in the financial crisis, forcing
taxpayers to rescue banks.
Securitisation is the consolidation of loans such as
mortgages and credit cards and selling them as bonds to
investors, with loan repayments paying the interest.
When such bonds based on sub-prime U.S. home loans became
untradable in 2007, a global crisis unfolded to engulf lenders
who held the bonds.
The securitisation market has remained moribund since then
and its revival is seen by policymakers as key to funding
sluggish economic growth and weaning lenders off cheap central
The European Banking Authority (EBA) on Wednesday published
draft rules for consultation that toughen up from 2014 existing
guidelines for preventing a recurrence of the sub-prime debacle.
The rules, to be applied across the EU, will lay down how
regulators supervise the market, ending the current system which
allows some market participants more flexibility.
The EBA said the rules will reassure investors that
securitised debt is less likely to become untradable.
Sellers of the debt must keep a 5 percent portion of the
issue as an incentive to keep issuing standards high.
Banks that buy securitised debt and fail to check the seller
has complied with the new safety rules will get an automatic 250
percent penalty capital surcharge on the purchase.
The 5 percent slice in future can only be retained by the
originator, sponsor or original lender, with no third party
allowed to do this as some supervisors currently allow.
The watchdog said this rule will hit the managed
collateralised loan obligation (CLO) sector which pools payments
on many business loans. Issuance between 2009 and 2011 was only
3 billion euros, compared with 130 billion in September 2007
Most CLO managers would struggle to come up with the
resources to fulfil the retention requirements, EBA said.
This month the European Central Bank decided to start talks
with the European Investment Bank and the EU Commission on
reviving the asset-backed securities market.
But banks see a contradiction between such support from top
policymakers and tougher rules from regulators on the ground.
The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), a
banking industry body, said issuance of securitised debt in
Europe fell to 70 billion euros last year from nearly 90 billion
in 2011 and 400 billion in each year prior to the financial
"Several senior policymakers have reiterated their support
for securitisation but it is crucial that these high level
expressions of support are translated into sensibly calibrated
evidence-based regulation on the ground," AFME's head of capital
markets, Rick Watson, said.