If the American and Swiss’ financial systems allowed the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Credit Suisse (CS) Bank, it would undoubtedly have a significant impact on the global financial world. Both banks are major players in their respective areas of expertise and have a large client base. While it is impossible to predict the exact consequences of their collapse, it is worth exploring some of the potential effects.

Firstly, there will be a loss of confidence in the banking sector, which could cause a ripple effect throughout the financial industry. Customers will become hesitant to deposit their money in other banks, fearing that they too may collapse. This could lead to a run on banks, which would put pressure on governments to provide guarantees and support to the banking system. 

The collapse of SVB and CS would also have implications for the tech industry and the investment world. SVB, in particular, is known for its focus on technology startups and venture capital. The bank has provided funding to some of the world’s most successful technology companies, including Google and Apple. If SVB were to collapse, it could significantly impact the ability of startups to secure funding, as well as the valuations of tech companies. This could lead to a slowdown in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Credit Suisse, on the other hand, is a major player in investment banking and wealth management. Its collapse could cause widespread disruption in the financial markets. The bank has faced a number of challenges in recent years that have led to its failure in certain aspects. Here are some of the key factors:

  1. Risky Investments: Credit Suisse made a number of risky investments in recent years, which resulted in significant losses for the company. For example, the bank invested heavily in Archegos Capital, a hedge fund that collapsed in March 2021, causing Credit Suisse to lose billions of dollars.
  2. Poor Risk Management: Credit Suisse has been criticized for its poor risk management practices. The bank did not have adequate controls in place to manage the risks associated with its investments, and as a result, it suffered significant losses.
  3. Legal Issues: Credit Suisse has faced a number of legal issues in recent years, including allegations of money laundering and tax evasion. These issues have damaged the bank’s reputation and led to regulatory investigations and fines.
  4. Leadership Issues: Credit Suisse has also faced leadership issues in recent years. The bank has had a number of high-profile departures, including the CEO, Tidjane Thiam, who resigned in 2020 following a spying scandal.

If Credit Suisse were to collapse, it could further erode confidence in the investment banking industry and lead to tighter regulations.

The collapse of both SVB and Credit Suisse could also have geopolitical consequences. Both banks have operations in multiple countries, and their collapse could lead to a domino effect that impacts economies worldwide. The banking industry is interconnected, and the failure of one institution can have a cascading effect on others.

After Credit Suisse’s contingent convertible (aka Coco) bonds worth US$17bil was marked down to zero, the spotlight is shining brighter than ever on Coco. CoCo bonds are a type of debt instrument that can convert into equity under certain predefined conditions. Specifically, these bonds can automatically convert into common shares if the issuer’s capital falls below a certain threshold or if the regulator requires the conversion to prevent a bank from failing. Any other issuance of Coco hereon would most likely see thin demand despite these bonds offer much higher coupons than traditional bonds.

In response to a potential collapse, governments and central banks have taken swift action to stabilize the financial system. This would involve injecting funds into struggling banks, guaranteeing deposits, and implementing stricter regulations. It is possible that we could see increased calls for global coordination on financial regulations and oversight to prevent similar collapses in the future.

The collapse of SVB and Credit Suisse would have significant consequences for the global financial world. While the exact impact is difficult to predict, it is clear that there would be widespread disruption in the banking and investment industries. Governments and central banks would likely need to take swift action to stabilize the financial system and prevent a broader crisis. As always, the health of the financial sector is closely tied to the overall health of the global economy, and any significant disruption could have long-term implications.

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