Junior Management Science, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2019, 228-240

Does Subordinated Debt Discipline Banks? Empirical Evidence of Market Discipline in Europe

Daniel Schürk, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität (Bachelorarbeit)

This thesis provides a differentiated answer to the question whether subordinated debt disciplines bank’s risk-taking behavior. I investigate the conditions and applicability of market discipline through subordinated debt instruments by critically reviewing the state of research. Relating to the regulatory context, I discuss proposals and various empirical studies and find that subordinated debt is an adequate measure to discipline banks under certain conditions.
My own empirical analysis contributes to evidence provided by prior studies and updates them for the European case. I conclude that subordinated debt investors perceive differences in risk between banks and across time and are sensitive to credit ratings and accounting variables at generally higher spread levels compared to senior bonds. Results include that spread is positively sensitive (increases with respect to one standard error) to equity to capital (225 BPS), provision for loan losses (200 to 225 BPS), non-performing loans to equity (400 to 715 BPS) and interest coverage ratio (60 BPS). Spread is negatively sensitive (decreases with respect to one standard error) to ROA (120 BPS) and loan loss reserves (360 to 620 BPS).

Keywords: debt market discipline; bond spreads; subordinated debt; bail-in; bail-out; BRRD; Basel II; Basel III; market monitoring; market influence.