IT’S OFFICIAL: ISDA TRIGGERS GREEK CREDIT EVENT IN UNANIMOUS DECISION
By Simone Foxman
March 9, 2012
It’s for real this time.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association determined today that Greece’s bond swap has triggered a credit event.
That will lead to payouts of credit default swaps—essentially, insurance contracts on holdings of Greek bonds under Greek law—that investors purchased to hedge against the risk of holding Greek sovereign debt.
While expected, this is the icing on the cake of the first developed market default in 60 years.
An auction related to outstanding CDS transactions will be held on March 19. The committee asks that any investor wanting to participate in the auction notify ISDA immediately.
Provocation of a credit event has been a contentious topic in Europe during the last few months. On one hand, sovereign CDS contracts are the only securities that allow investors to hedge and speculate directly against governments. Because the market is so opaque and because many financial institutions are on both sides of this trade, credit default swaps have compounded concerns about the contagion that would occur as a result of a financial shock.