Analysis of the Legal and Regulatory Situation of Uncovered Corporate Bond Issuance in the Baltic States: is there a Common Framework Possible?
Keywords:corporate bonds, corporate bond issuance, legal and regulatory framework, Baltic states, CMU
While the development of the Baltic corporate bond market is based on the uncovered bond segment, the elaboration of the legislative base has a devoted emphasis on the covered bonds. The shift from a country-focused to the pan-Baltic-focused capital market has been publicly acknowledged by the governments (Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia, 2018) and is in line with the ongoing Capital Markets Union initiative of the European Commission (The High Level Forum on the Capital Markets, 2020). Moreover, a pan-Baltic covered bond legal and regulatory framework has been initiated (Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, 2019). The strong demand for the corporate bond segment in the Baltics (the average number of issues listed in the period 2009-2019 reached 44) where no covered bonds are traded on Nasdaq Baltic (Nasdaq Baltic, 2020) creates the need for a unification of the uncovered corporate bond legislation. The existing academic research is relatively modest on analysing legal frameworks of corporate bond issuance. The studies examine the division between domestic and international (typically Eurobonds) legal issuance frameworks with more focus on the legislative frameworks as related to the terms of issuance. Few articles consider a new supranational bond issuance framework, while the interpretation of the issue is radically diverse. There is no existing academic research on the legal framework of the uncovered corporate bond issuance in the Baltics. The aim of this research is to reveal the feasibility of the development of a pan-Baltic uncovered corporate bond issuance framework by analysing the existing legal and regulatory documentation of the corporate bond issuance in the Baltic states. The research provides a limitation for the corporate bond issuance process legislation in the form of information disclosure requirements and the prospective situation of a default of an issuer. The research presents the primary data analysis of the in-depth interviews with pan-Baltic legal professionals in the corporate bond issuance segment conducted in the period December 2019-March 2020. The research demonstrates that the concern of the information disclosure for the issue of corporate bonds is covered under the new regime of the Prospectus Regulation, where further harmonisation of the smaller scope of issues is needed. The national insolvency laws in the Baltics are yet different and need to be harmonised for the default of the issuer. In the result of the research, the idea of a proposal for a pan-Baltic legal and regulatory framework for uncovered corporate bond issuance is evaluated as feasible action corresponding both to the goals of the Capital Markets Union and a pan-Baltic capital market development. The research methods used in this article are scientific publication analysis, document analysis, and in-depth interviews.
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