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Higher funding costs hit even the strongest banks

Try telling investors in bank debt that the system is getting safer.

Douglas Flint, HSBC

"There’s a lot of talk about debt investors who will be prepared to take losses at higher levels in the capital structure. I would be very interested to meet one"

Douglas Flint, HSBC

Investors in bank bonds are being asked to accept much higher risk of loss of principal if governments are to be taken at their word that there will be no more taxpayer bailouts. Rather than bailouts, bail-ins is the new catchphrase. Regulators and governments want banks to raise funds from debt providers that will model into their investment decisions a price for accepting potentially hefty loss given default on bank paper.

"There’s a lot of talk about debt investors who will be prepared to take losses at higher levels in the capital structure," says Douglas Flint, chief financial officer of HSBC. "I would be very interested to meet one."

He’s far from being the only cynical CFO who suspects they don’t really exist and that the much ballyhooed market in contingent capital is missing one key item: a natural buyer base.

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