Why is it that one group of investors who buy Irish debt when its on the floor are publicly praised and others are vilified? In 2012, Franklin Templeton took the view that Ireland was good for its debts when many others in the market had their doubts.
Michael Hasenstab (right) filled his boots with Irish government bonds and made out like a bandit. Nobody here begrudges him his success which was seen as a vote of confidence in the Irish economy.
In 2012, Xaia investments, a German fund manager, was faced with the choice of accepting an offer from the Irish Government of 20 cents in the euro for its €17 million worth of Anglo Irish Bank Junior bonds. It chose not to accept the offer and went to the UK High Court to vindicate its right not to be forced into a deal.
Xaia presumably took the decision to hold out because they believed that Anglo Irish Bank - or IBRC as it had become - was good for the money. In effect they believed that the residual value in the bank was more than people thought and sufficient to cover their bonds once all the other creditors ahead of them in the queue had been paid.
Of course, the fact that other junior bondholders took the deal offered by the Government meant that there was more to go around for Xaia and the other holdouts, but the liquidation would still have had to go better than predicted before they could get their money back.
What this meant in effect is that Xaia thought the Irish economic recovery would have to be stronger and faster than most others were predicting at the time. It was essentially the same bet that Hasenstab made. And don’t be distracted by the argument that the taxpayer had to pump €34 billion into Anglo Irish Bank. The taxpayer has been spatchcocked so that Hasenstab gets his profits too.