Summary of Risk Reduction Through Europe’s Distressed Debt Market

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Risk Reduction Through Europe’s Distressed Debt Market  summary


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Europe has only begun to deal with its distressed debt problem, and it needs to do more, according to economist Alexander Lehmann in this technical but highly accessible analysis. He posits that Europe’s fledgling secondary market for loans currently has systemic imperfections that severely limit investor demand. Lehmann proposes that regulators and investors collaborate to make the divestment process more efficient and transparent. getAbstract recommends this astute synopsis to bankers, investors and regulators.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the European market for distressed debt is underdeveloped,
  • What challenges creating such a market presents and
  • What efforts could facilitate a robust secondary loan market.

About the Author

Alexander Lehmann is a nonresident fellow at Bruegel, a European think tank.



Nonperforming loans (NPLs) have cast a long shadow across European banks. Traditionally, in the desire to retain client relationships, banks have handled problematic debt of their own origination through in-house restructurings. But today, financial executives are coming to grips with the need to write down a substantial volume of moribund claims: The 2018 value of NPLs in the euro zone equals roughly 8.8% of GDP. European Central Bank (ECB) guidelines support the creation of a strong secondary-market solution. And lenders recognize the demand for greater transparency, lower entry hurdles for investors, harmonized regulation of asset transfers, and clarity in the treatment of risk-sharing mechanisms, such as securitization and public-private collaboration. 

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