Editor’s notice: A bailout in March this 12 months by an SBI-led consortium has given Sure Financial institution one other likelihood to get again to enterprise. Within the April-June quarter, the financial institution obtained the much-needed survival capital by a comply with on public supply. In a multi-part collection, Moneycontrol will take a look at the journey of personal sector lender thus far and the challenges forward. Learn the primary two elements right here and right here. That is the third and concluding half:
One of many scariest elements of Sure Financial institution bailout story is what occurred to Extra Tier 1 (AT1 Bonds) Bond holders of the financial institution when the reconstruction scheme got here into impact in March, 2020.
Rs 8,415 crores price AT1 Bonds have been written off by Sure Financial institution invoking a rule that’s permitted underneath Basel tips. Following this, the shocked bond holders of the financial institution moved courts looking for assist.
These embody a petition filed by Axis Trustee in Bombay Excessive Court docket and a separate petition in Madras Excessive Court docket by 63 Moons Applied sciences Ltd, one of many institutional buyers which misplaced Rs 300 crore in AT1 Bonds. There are others who plan to provoke separate authorized motion.
What are AT1 Bonds? These are perpetual bonds and are thought-about quasi-equity devices riskier than Tier 1 bonds. Buyers are normally lured by the excessive curiosity they provide.
One of many costs raised by aggrieved AT1 bond holders of Sure Financial institution was that they have been missold these merchandise by Sure Financial institution’s executives. A number of retail buyers Moneycontrol spoke to confirmed this allegation. They mentioned AT1 bonds have been offered by Sure Financial institution executives packaging as ‘Tremendous FDs’.
Buyers have been advised that AT1 bonds are merchandise that provide the protection of a hard and fast deposit however larger returns (round 9%-9.5%) in comparison with a traditional FD product. This was a beautiful supply buyers couldn’t say no to. Many of those prospects had present fastened deposits within the financial institution which have been transformed to AT1 investments.
“Within the hindsight, I really feel I ought to have been extra cautious however Sure Financial institution was a trusted financial institution at that time. The chief offered it to my household in a particularly convincing method. We agreed.,” mentioned one of many Delhi-based retail investor, whose household have over a crore rupees caught in these bonds. The particular person didn’t wish to be named.
The misselling angle is talked about within the petition filed by 63 Moons as effectively. “The buyers got the impression that the AT-I bonds weren’t solely risk-free but additionally supplied the next return than fastened deposits. The bonds have been marked as ‘Tremendous Fastened Deposits” by the connection managers of Sure Financial institution,” the corporate alleged. Describing the bonds as ‘Tremendous FDs’ is a gross misrepresentation because it hides the dangers inherent within the product, the petition mentioned.
The Axis Trustee, which represents the buyers within the case, has now included the misselling half in its Bombay Excessive Court docket petition.
“Don’t blame us”
The Reserve Financial institution of India (RBI) has strongly defended its place within the case. In its counter affidavit to 63 Moons petition, the RBI has used sturdy phrases.
The RBI has mentioned the motion for writing off has been rightly taken underneath the provisions of the contract between Sure Financial institution and AT-1 Bondholders and therefore, there is no such thing as a benefit within the Petitioners contentions. “The entire goal of writing-off the AT-1 Bonds is to make sure that the capital infused by the general public sector i.e. SBI and different buyers shouldn’t be diluted. The AT-1 Bonds are a legal responsibility and therefore, the identical ought to be written off for the efficient implementation of the Notified Scheme, which is made within the curiosity of most of the people and to regain the boldness of the depositors,” the RBI mentioned.
The RBI affidavit additionally mentioned the courts have to be gradual in interfering and exercising judicial overview of the selections of a personal sector financial institution that are contractual in nature by issuing a writ.
The affidavit additionally mentioned: “Previous to the arrival of the monetary difficulties of Sure Financial institution, the Petitioner and different bondholders of Sure Financial institution have reaped excessive monetary rewards on the AT-1 Bonds. The Petitioners can’t on one hand get pleasure from the good thing about a excessive rate of interest/coupon fee by investing in such high-risk instrument and thereafter, in instances of such failure, shift the onus of loss upon RBI”.
The RBI’s feedback within the affidavit are important. The buyers, all alongside, has argued that they weren’t advised the actual dangers concerned in these devices and whole write down of those bonds just isn’t justifiable.
Sure Financial institution’s response
Sure Financial institution, in a separate counter affidavit, has denied that its executives engaged in misselling of AT1 Bonds. Sure Financial institution’s RBI-appointed managing director and chief government officer, Prashant Kumar, submitted that buyers bought these perpetual bonds with “eyes open”.
“The declare of violation of pure justice is denied. The petitioner had bought the AT1 bonds with eyes open, figuring out all of the dangers hooked up with the acquisition,” mentioned Prashant Kumar.
The petitioner alleges that officers of Respondent No. 3 (Sure Financial institution) had misled buyers to hawk the AT-I perpetual bonds and have been misled into shopping for these bonds primarily based on misrepresentations. These statements are very obscure and with none particulars, Kumar mentioned within the affidavit.
“Who’re these fficials, when have been these statements/ misrepresentations made, and how much guarantees have been made are all absent. I’m not able to cope with any of those obscure allegations besides to disclaim them,” Kumar mentioned.
No rule violation
Kumar reiterated that the write-down was in accordance with the legislation and there are dangers related to this instrument. “Sadly, the chance occasions occurred and loss was occasioned. The petitioner now can’t declare safety from the court docket in respect of such funding choices by claiming some particular proper,” mentioned the Sure Financial institution counter-affidavit.
Sure Financial institution was bailed out by a financial institution consortium led by the State Financial institution of India (SBI) in March this 12 months after a surge in unhealthy loans and capital erosion. Investigations are on into the alleged corruption and monetary irregularities by the previous administration underneath Rana Kapoor.
So what are the possibilities for AT1 Bond holders?
In response to JN Gupta, a former SEBI government director and founding father of proxy advisory agency SES, Sure Financial institution’s AT1 bond holders are unlikely to get their a reimbursement. It’s because each the banking regulator and the Sure Financial institution administration (publish bailout) acted as per guidelines. “So far as RBI is anxious, the case filed by AT1 bond holders is not going to stand. RBI has solely adopted the Banking Regulation Act,” mentioned Gupta.
“With respect to misselling by Sure Financial institution executives, there may very well be a benefit in argument. However the current Sure Financial institution administration is not going to be impacted. There may very well be doable actions in opposition to people concerned (in misselling). Even there, I don’t see a lot scope for restoration of cash,” Gupta mentioned.
Sure Financial institution AT1 bond write down episode is a serious lesson for buyers who select dangerous monetary devices hoping for larger returns. Additionally, the result of the continuing authorized battle is certain to have an effect on the AT1 Bond market in India.