Financial Covenants and Related Contracting Processes in the Australian Private Debt Market: An Experimental Study

2017-06-06T02:56:16Z (GMT) by Mather, Paul
Private debt markets are characterised by covenant restrictive but renegotiation-flexible debt contracts as financial intermediaries lending in private debt markets have a comparative advantage over investors in public debt markets in offering such contracts. The two research questions investigated in this paper are 'What determines the restrictiveness of financial covenants in private debt contracts?' and 'Under what conditions will loan officers waive technical default on financial covenants?' Two behavioural experiments involving loan officers examined these contracting processes in the Australian private debt market. The first experiment examined whether several borrower-and contract-pecific characteristics detemiine the restrictiveness of financial covenants in private debt contracts. Management reputation and security were found to be associated with the number and tightness of financial covenants, whilst high financial risk was associated with increased tightness, but not the number, of such covenants. The effect of the interaction, management reputation x security, was also significant. The second experiment examined the association between several borrowerand contract-specific characteristics and the likelihood of loan officers waiving technical default on financial covenants. Low financial risk, security and defaults caused solely by a change in accounting standards were found to be associated with the likelihood of the default being waived.