Greek government bond holders won't be able to collect on insurance policies they took out as protection against a a sovereign default by that nation, a secretive committee ruled Thursday.
A panel composed of representatives from 15 large banks, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, as well as hedge funds and investment houses, decided bond holders who were forced to take losses in a Greek financial rescue last month may not collect on the credit default swaps, or CDS, they bought when they loaned money to Greece.
The decision by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association directly affects about $3.2 billion in net payments. But it could have repercussions on about $2.9 trillion in CDS on sovereign debt around the world, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Panel members, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, decided unanimously that a default hadn't occurred and that there was no evidence that bond holders and Greece had agreed on what constituted a default.
However, the panel left the door slightly open for ongoing bond holder claims.
The (panel) noted, however, that the situation in the Hellenic Republic is still evolving and today's (panel) decisions do not affect the right or ability of market participants to submit further questions to the (panel) relating to the Hellenic Republic nor is it an expression of the (panel's) view as to whether a credit event could occur at a later date, in each case, as further facts come to light, the group said in a statement.
On Feb. 21, euro zone finance ministers and Greek leaders ended a seven-month struggle over how to rescue the debt-choked Hellenic Republic -- its debt-to-GDP ratio is about 160 percent -- by approving a $175 billion bailout package that requires bond holders to voluntarily accept big cuts in the value of their holdings. The move came ahead of a scheduled March 20 bond redemption that, without a financial rescue, could have forced Greece to default. It was the second such financial rescue in two years.
In premarket trading, shares of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, among other large banks, posted gains.