Multiple Trigger CoCos: Contingent Debt Without Death Spiral Risk

13 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2013

See all articles by Jan De Spiegeleer

Jan De Spiegeleer


Wim Schoutens

KU Leuven - Department of Mathematics

Date Written: May 2013


This paper starts with the observation that the average issue size during 2012 of contingent convertible (CoCo) bonds was more than $1 bn. Typically a CoCo is converted into shares when a pre‐defined capital ratio such as the core tier 1 ratio (CT1) drops below a minimum level. In some other cases, the contingent convertibles investors will suffer from a pre‐defined haircut instead of a conversion into shares. Investors could dynamically hedge the equity exposure embedded within a contingent convertible by taking an offsetting short position in the underlying shares. This dynamic hedging can in some circumstances have a negative impact on the share price of the bank. It could indeed lead to a spiral of falling share prices. This so‐called death spiral effect can only be avoided if the size of the contingent convertible is moderate compared to the amount of outstanding public traded shares. In this contribution we advocate the use of contingent debt where there is more than one conversion trigger. Banks should move away from one large single CoCo issue towards issues with multiple accounting triggers spread across an extended range. This will alleviate the death spiral risk. The expected dynamic behavior of a CoCo bond has been modeled using a credit derivates approach. From these models we then quantify the equity sensitivity and the negative gamma resulting from the design of a contingent convertible and illustrate the possible pitfalls of a death spiral on the share price.

Suggested Citation

De Spiegeleer, Jan and Schoutens, Wim, Multiple Trigger CoCos: Contingent Debt Without Death Spiral Risk (May 2013). Financial Markets, Institutions & Instruments, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 129-141, 2013, Available at SSRN: or

Jan De Spiegeleer

RiskConcile ( email )

Kapeldreef 60
Leuven, 3000
492227143 (Phone)


Wim Schoutens

KU Leuven - Department of Mathematics ( email )

Celestijnenlaan 200 B
Leuven, B-3001

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics