Allow buying and selling in bonds from pressured companies: CEA Krishnamurthy Subramanian

Regulators should contemplate allowing the buying and selling of bonds issued by distressed companies within the company bond market, mooted Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian, including that with the COVID-19 pandemic set to ‘inevitably’ add to the misery in corporates’ and lenders’ balance-sheets, the nation wanted a value discovery mechanism for pressured property.

Asserting that the nation’s evolving insolvency and chapter course of nonetheless had scope to change into extra environment friendly, he mentioned, “We also need a market for price discovery of stressed assets, without which the process of taking a haircut becomes difficult”.

“Similarly, a company bond market that allows bonds of distressed corporations to be traded turns into necessary.

“In India, it’s primarily simply the [firms with] high few scores that get traded. The U.S. advantages rather a lot within the artistic destruction course of by having that marketplace for value discovery. So, we have to have a look at our incentives and the marketplace for value discovery,” Mr. Subramanian added.

‘Incentive problem’

Investigations in opposition to bankers for judgments they might train to resolve pressured mortgage accounts additionally cramped their skill to take ‘economically efficient’ selections, he opined. Flagging an ‘incentive’ downside affecting public sector bankers specifically, he mentioned that judgment is concerned when an organization goes into misery and its debt must be restructured or written down to show it round or appeal to different traders.

“A significant amount of judgment is used to price the value of that debt with a necessary haircut [and] take that hit in the profit and loss account… This is where because of the involvement of judgment, there is always this possibility of a hindsight bias that can create enormous risk aversion,” Mr. Subramanian mentioned. “If a decision made after exercising judgment, can be viewed with a malafide intent, that can make bankers very skittish in making those judgments,” he added.

“Investigations that do not take into account some of these very important nuances, really make it very difficult for bankers to do what is economically efficient,” the CEA mentioned, stressing that such judgment was essential for assuaging the distressed property downside.

Business barons additionally wanted to snap out of a ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ method, Mr. Subramanian contended at a session on pressured property hosted by trade physique FICCI.

“Corporate India needs to recognise and respect that the equity contract entails — if things go well, even if due to luck, you retain control; but if things go bad, possibly also due to luck or exogenous circumstances, ceding control is part of the equity contract,” he mentioned.

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