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Pitfalls To Avoid In A Bond Issuance Program

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Pitfalls To Avoid In A Bond Issuance Program

A bond issuance refers to the process of offering and selling bonds to investors in the financial markets.

It is a way for governments, corporations, and other entities to raise capital by borrowing money from investors. When an issuer decides to raise funds through bonds, it initiates a bond issuance.

When engaging in a bond issuance program, however, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls to a successful raise and take steps to avoid them. Some of these key pitfalls to watch out for include:

Inadequate Due Diligence

Failing to conduct thorough due diligence on the issuer’s financial health, creditworthiness, and risk factors can lead to inaccurate assessments and poor investment decisions. It is essential to analyze the issuer’s financial statements, business model, market conditions, and any potential legal or regulatory risks before participating in bond issuance.

On the ‘Issuer’s’ part also, it is important to carry out as much due diligence on itself as possible to avoid potential attacks on its corporate image. Even the other parties essential to the offer should not be left out of this process. Having ‘Issue’ partners with questionable practices or tainted names within the industry can adversely affect an issuer’s potential for a good and successful raise.

Inaccurate or Incomplete Issuer Disclosure

Inadequate disclosure of relevant information can lead to legal and reputational risks. Issuers must provide accurate, timely, and comprehensive disclosures, including correct financial statements, industry and business-specific risk factors, and any material information that could impact investors’ decision-making. Failing to disclose important details when due can severely erode trust and potentially result in legal consequences.

Unsustainable Debt Levels

Issuing bonds without a sustainable plan to manage and repay the debt can put an issuer at risk of default and financial distress. It is crucial to assess the issuer’s ability to generate sufficient cash flow, meet interest and principal payments, and maintain a healthy debt-to-equity ratio. Excessive debt levels without a clear repayment strategy can negatively impact the issuer’s creditworthiness and investor confidence.

Issuers are also advised to stringently monitor and manage their debt exposure before approaching the capital market for funding as too much exposure to debt, falsifying your debt position, or using debt to offset another debt could see investors shy away from your present or future offers.

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Lack of Transparency and Governance

Transparency and strong corporate governance practices are critical in bond issuances. Lack of transparency, particularly at the board level, can erode investor confidence and increase the perception of risk. Issuers should adhere to established corporate governance standards, create and/or maintain robust internal controls, and ensure transparency in financial reporting and decision-making processes before approaching the capital market for funding.

Inadequate Risk Management Processes

Failure to identify and manage risks, particularly in a timely fashion, can have significant consequences on the success of a bond issuance program. Issuers must conduct comprehensive risk assessments and implement risk management strategies to mitigate potential threats before they even occur.

This includes monitoring market risks, interest rate risks, currency risks, and operational risks that could impact the issuer’s ability to meet bond obligations.

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Inadequate Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Non-compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards can lead to legal liabilities, reputational damage, and even the invalidation of the bond issuance by the authorities. It’s crucial to engage legal counsel to ensure compliance with relevant securities laws, disclosure requirements, and regulatory frameworks.

Market and Liquidity Risks

Market conditions and liquidity can impact the performance and traceability of a bond. Changes in interest rates, credit rating, economic conditions, or even prevailing investor sentiment can affect your bond’s value and marketability.

It’s essential to assess market risks, evaluate potential liquidity constraints, and consider the impact of changing market conditions, and investors averse or inclinations to your bond issuance before formally approaching the market.

Inadequate Investor Communication

Clear and effective communication with bondholders is crucial throughout the bond pre and post-issuance program. Failure to provide regular updates, address investor concerns, and provide timely information can lead to dissatisfaction and strained investor relationships. Regular and transparent communication fosters trust and helps maintain a positive relationship with bondholders.

Even well before bond issuance, it is crucial to get potential bondholders interested in your offer before making it formal. This in most cases involves an investor’s relations drive, preferably through a business advisor, or investment banker.

Gathering a large enough pool of potential bondholders and intimating them about your funding requirements and utilization plans will build a much greater level of confidence and trust between you and them and even give you a clear idea of parties that might be more interested in your offer and those you should perhaps dedicate less of your marketing time to.

By being mindful of these pitfalls and taking proactive measures to mitigate risks, for themselves and the investors, issuers can increase the likelihood of a successful bond issuance program while protecting their interests, the investors, and other parties to the offer.

It’s recommended, however, to work with experienced professionals, including legal advisors, business and financial experts, and underwriters, to navigate the complexities of the bond market to ensure success and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Hammed Tajudeen is a graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication

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