Evaluating the 2013 Euro CAC Experiment

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The New Financial Architecture of the Eurozone, Page: 123-136

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Carletti, Elena; Colla, Paolo; Gulati, Mitu
Public debts; Debt relief; Eurozone; sovereign debt, collective action clauses, euro, eurozone
article description
On January 1, 2013, it became mandatory that every new sovereign bond issued by a member of the European Monetary Union include a new contract clause called a Collective Action Clause or CAC. This, we believe, constituted the biggest one-time change to the terms of sovereign debt contracts in history, impacting a market of many trillions of euros. And it was not just that the change was big in terms of the size of the market it impacted; it was big in terms of its impact on the documentation of each individual Euro area sovereign bond contract. To illustrate, prior to January 1, 2013, all of the terms of a local-law Irish sovereign bond fitted on about a page and a half; the full document was about three pages long. After January 1, 2013, the document was twenty pages long; almost all of that space taken by the new CAC term. In terms of words on the page, it was a big change. But did it do anything meaningful? And, more importantly, did it do what it was intended to do?