The Make-Whole Provision in Sovereign Bonds
Unnoticed in the literature on sovereign bonds, an innovation has been taking place over the past decade and a half. Starting with a single issuance in 2006 by Mexico and two issuances by Brazil in 2007, some issuers have been using “doomsday” or “make whole” call provisions. These are call options set deep out of the money at issuance, and therefore unlikely to be triggered. We report the birth and evolution of the clause over the past fifteen years and ask what drove its application to sovereign bonds. We also estimate its cost for the issuing country. It turns out, at least thus far, that it is free.