At some point these last two weeks, you’ve likely stumbled across some tumultuous economic news surrounding bank failures. We wanted to share some crucial insights regarding the recent default of the Credit Suisse AT1 CoCo Bonds and its implications for regional wealth management.
Over the past few years, we've always been surprised by our clients’ interest in investing in these unique types of bonds created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. These instruments were not your ordinary bonds — they were intended to be shock absorbers in the event of a bank crisis. In particular, these instruments can be converted to shares or written down entirely when a bank's capital falls below a certain threshold, making them more equity-like than traditional bonds typically are. This was precisely the case in the Credit Suisse instance on Monday; someone had to pay the price for Credit Suisse’s failures, and that was the AT1 holders, as the intention with these securities was for their holders to take any loss to protect other bondholders from any loss.
Many individuals in the UAE became familiar with AT1 bonds through bankers/advisors promoting them, despite local regulations prohibiting official advice on such investments. By discussing these bonds informally and encouraging clients to request their purchase through an "execution-only" approach, advisors were able to bypass responsibility for the transaction.
Unfortunately, this has exposed many private investors to these high-risk investments, further eroding trust in the financial services sector. This situation has been exacerbated by the recent default of AT1 Credit Suisse bonds, causing significant losses for some investors.
In light of these developments, I want to make clear our stance on the matter, as well as reaffirm our commitment to responsible investing and promoting a more transparent and trustworthy wealth management culture. This is the central driving force behind Vault.
Please rest assured that we will continue to work tirelessly to make a meaningful difference in the region’s wealth management landscape. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your current investments or the recent developments in the market.