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UBS Preparing Sales of High-Yield CoCo Bonds, A Risky Debt That Can Bail Out Banks At Expense of Investors

Primarily a foreign endeavor, so-called CoCo bonds may be immigrating to the United States with news that UBS Group AG is considering selling CoCos domestically. With much higher coupons—up to 7%—this form of debt can look like a winning bond for yield-hungry investors, but, according to MarketWatch, this "riskiest type of debt that a bank can issue" comes with a series of warnings and cautions.

Contingent convertible capital instruments, or "CoCo" bonds, financial alchemy at its worst. CoCo's are perpetual debt instruments with no set maturity date that convert into equity when a bank's capital falls underneath a certain threshold value. In other words, when things don't go right, banks can convert debt into a lender's poorly performing, low-value shares: the bank takes the "bail out" while investors are left with the "bail in."

CoCos also allow issuers to miss coupon payments "in times of stress," which may have contributed to recent turbulence with the European Deutsche Bank AG: to reiterate, Deutsche and similar CoCo issuers can miss coupon payments—the payments are optional—if times "get tough."

If you have invested with high-risk CoCo bonds or similar securities that were unsuitable given your investor profile, objectives, or risk tolerance, and this improper mismatch has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.

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