Markets for Bank Subordinated Debt and Equity in Basel Committee Member Countries

August 2003

This Basel Committee working paper is a study of the markets for banks' securities in ten countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States). It aims at contributing to the assessment of the potential effectiveness of direct and indirect market discipline. This is achieved through collecting a rich set of data on the detailed characteristics of the instruments used by banks to tap capital markets, the frequency and size of their issuance activity, and the share of issuing banks in national banking systems. Further, information is collected on the amounts of debt and equity outstanding and about trading volumes and liquidity. Developments over the period from 1990-2001 are evaluated.

The paper focuses on subordinated bonds among banks' debt instruments, because they are the prime class of uninsured instruments suited to generate market discipline and have been proposed by some observers as a mandatory requirement for banks.