Friday, July 22, 2011

Has Spain's Santander Bank ripped off its customers?

There is an extremely interesting article from Bloomberg today, especially given the strange share price movements on the first day of trading for Bankia earlier this week, on how Santander has seemingly been shoring up its capital base  possibly contrary to the interests of its own depositers. The full article is here, from which comes this startling quote:

Banks such as Santander sell bonds convertible into stock to “dodge the bullet” of immediately diluting existing investors, said Simon Maughan, head of sales and distribution at MF Global Ltd. in London. Asking clients to buy stock-linked investments risks alienating them if they’re burdened with losses, he said.
“The last thing you want is 130,000 disgruntled clients,” Maughan said, referring to the mandatory convertible bonds sold by Santander. “If worse comes to worst they may have to compensate the customers and obviously that’s going to be unpleasant.”



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