EU may combine insurance, SPIV to boost euro fund

Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:13pm EDT
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By Matthias Sobolewski

BERLIN (Reuters) - The euro zone should combine two proposals for increasing the firepower of its rescue fund -- an insurance model and a special purpose investment vehicle (SPIV) -- according to an EU paper for the mid-week summit obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The paper said neither option would require politically-difficult changes to the existing European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which has been approved by national parliaments after some problematic debates.

The euro zone wants to boost the firepower of its 440 billion euro bailout fund without putting more money into it.

With France dropping its idea of turning the fund into a bank to tap European Central Bank funds at a summit this weekend, EU leaders will decide at a second summit on Wednesday which of the two approaches left on the table should be used, with a combination looking increasingly likely.

Under the credit enhancement or insurance model, the EFSF could boost market confidence in new debt issued by a struggling member state by guaranteeing an unspecified proportion of the losses that could be incurred in the event of a default.

This would work via the EFSF extending a loan to a member state, which would buy EFSF bonds in return. The bonds would be the collateral for a partial protection certificate to be held in trust for the state. Both the bond and the certificate would be freely tradable, according to the paper.

If the state defaulted, the investor could surrender the protection certificate to the trust and receive payment from the EFSF. This option does not apply to states already receiving euro zone/International Monetary Fund bailouts as they are no longer issuing bonds on the primary market.

Under the SPIV scheme, one or more vehicles would be set up either centrally or in a beneficiary member state to invest in sovereign bonds in the primary and secondary markets.   Continued...

<p>German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd L) enters the Chancellery in Berlin to brief the heads of the parliamentary factions about the outcome of yesterday's Euro talks, October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>