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Comment créer un fonds de solvabilité avec l’épargne collective ? Avec un peu d’imagination !

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Monday 17/5/2021
Georges Hübner

The coronavirus crisis has created two bottlenecks in the financial circuit. On the lending side, there is a surplus of idle household savings for many - but not all - households, while there is a potentially large unmet need for capital increases at affordable conditions for those companies that have suffered from the crisis. To redirect savings into an alternative financial instrument, the latter must be (i) safe, (ii) liquid, (iii) non-loss-making, and (iv) socially meaningful. To persuade companies to open their capital to external investors, they should be able to issue securities that are (i) equity-like, (ii) non-diluting, (iii) non-voting, and (iv) self-destructing. It is not easy to link these two incompatible needs, but we believe that, thanks to the current economic conditions with low interest rates but a positive expected economic growth rate, some adequate financial engineering could bridge the gap. For households, we advocate the issuance of liquid bullet bonds with a variable coupon and guaranteed capital. On the corporate side, the proceeds of these bonds would be invested in callable, cumulative, convertible preferred shares. A proper asset & liability management governance can ensure a smooth management of the maturity, credit and liquidity risks of the structure. Based on the feedback of many knowledgeable actors of the Belgian economy, we list several potential hindrances that need to be overcome to succeed with this project, but we believe that none represents a crippling obstacle.