It will be recalled that EMA.PR.F will reset at 4.202% effective February 15, 2020.

EMA.PR.F is a FixedReset, 4.25%+263, that commenced trading 2014-6-9 after being being announced 2014-5-29. The company announced the extension on 2020-1-7. EMA.PR.F is tracked by HIMIPref™ and assigned to the FixedReset Discount subindex.

The most logical way to analyze the question of whether or not to convert is through the theory of Preferred Pairs, for which a calculator is available. Briefly, a Strong Pair is defined as a pair of securities that can be interconverted in the future (e.g. EMA.PR.F and the FloatingReset that will arise if enough holders convert). Since they will be interconvertible on this future date, it may be assumed that they will be priced identically on this date (if they aren’t then holders will simply convert en masse to the higher-priced issue). And since they will be priced identically on a given date in the future, any current difference in price must be offset by expectations of an equal and opposite value of dividends to be received in the interim. And since the dividend rate on one element of the pair is both fixed and known, the implied average rate of the other, floating rate, instrument can be determined. Finally, we say, we may compare these average rates and take a view regarding the actual future course of that rate relative to the implied rate, which will provide us with guidance on which element of the pair is likely to outperform the other until the next interconversion date, at which time the process will be repeated.

We can show the break-even rates for each FixedReset / FloatingReset Strong Pair graphically by plotting the implied average 3-month bill rate against the next Exchange Date (which is the date to which the average will be calculated).

The market appears to have lost its fleeting interest in floating rate product; the implied rates until the next interconversion are below the current 3-month bill rate as the averages for investment-grade and junk issues are at +0.92% and +1.46%, respectively, after discarding the junk outlying pair AIM.PR.A / AIM.PR.B, which resets on 2020-3-31. Whatever might be the result of the next few Bank of Canada overnight rate decisions, I suggest that it is unlikely that the average rate over the next five years will be lower than current – but if you disagree, of course, you may interpret the data any way you like.

Since credit quality of each element of the pair is equal to the other element, it should not make any difference whether the pair examined is investment-grade or junk, although we might expect greater variation of implied rates between junk issues on grounds of lower liquidity, and this is just what we see.

If we plug in the current bid price of the EMA.PR.F FixedReset, we may construct the following table showing consistent prices for its soon-may-be-issued FloatingReset counterpart given a variety of Implied Breakeven yields consistent with issues currently trading:

Estimate of FloatingReset (received in exchange for EMA.PR.F) Trading Price In Current Conditions |
|||||

Assumed FloatingReset Price if Implied Bill is equal to |
|||||

FixedReset | Bid Price | Spread | 1.50% | 1.00% | 0.50% |

EMA.PR.F | 17.80 | 263bp | 17.73 | 17.24 | 16.75 |

Based on current market conditions, I suggest that the FloatingResets that will result from conversion are likely to trade below the price of their FixedReset counterparts, EMA.PR.F. Therefore, **I recommend that holders of EMA.PR.F continue to hold the issue and not to convert**. I will note that once the FloatingResets commence trading (if, in fact, they do) it may be a good trade to swap one issue for the other in the market once both elements of each pair are trading and you can – hopefully – do it with a reasonably good take-out in price, rather than doing it through the company on a 1:1 basis. But that, of course, will depend on the prices at that time and your forecast for the path of policy rates over the next five years. There are no guarantees – my recommendation is based on the assumption that current market conditions with respect to the pairs will continue until the FloatingResets commence trading and that the relative pricing of the two new pairs will reflect these conditions.

Those who wish to convert are advised that the deadline for notifying the company of such a desire is **5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 31, 2020**. Brokers and other intermediaries generally set their internal deadlines a day or two in advance of this date, so if you wish to convert there’s no time to waste! Note that brokers will, in general, try to execute the instruction on a ‘best efforts’ basis if received between the two deadlines, provided that the procrastinating shareholder grovels entertainingly enough.

## NA.PR.W : Convert or Hold?

Saturday, January 25th, 2020It will be recalled that NA.PR.W will reset at 3.839% effective February 16, 2020.

NA.PR.W is a FixedReset, 3.90%+225, that commenced trading 2014-10-9 after being announced 2014-9-30. The company announced the extension on 2019-12-19. The issue is tracked by HIMIPref™ and is assigned to the FixedReset (Discount) subindex.

The most logical way to analyze the question of whether or not to convert is through the theory of Preferred Pairs, for which a calculator is available. Briefly, a Strong Pair is defined as a pair of securities that can be interconverted in the future (e.g. NA.PR.W and the FloatingReset that will arise if enough holders convert). Since they will be interconvertible on this future date, it may be assumed that they will be priced identically on this date (if they aren’t then holders will simply convert en masse to the higher-priced issue). And since they will be priced identically on a given date in the future, any current difference in price must be offset by expectations of an equal and opposite value of dividends to be received in the interim. And since the dividend rate on one element of the pair is both fixed and known, the implied average rate of the other, floating rate, instrument can be determined. Finally, we say, we may compare these average rates and take a view regarding the actual future course of that rate relative to the implied rate, which will provide us with guidance on which element of the pair is likely to outperform the other until the next interconversion date, at which time the process will be repeated.

We can show the break-even rates for each FixedReset / FloatingReset Strong Pair graphically by plotting the implied average 3-month bill rate against the next Exchange Date (which is the date to which the average will be calculated).

Click for BigThe market appears to have lost its fleeting interest in floating rate product; the implied rates until the next interconversion are below the current 3-month bill rate as the averages for investment-grade and junk issues are at +0.92% and +1.46%, respectively, after discarding the junk outlying pair AIM.PR.A / AIM.PR.B, which resets on 2020-3-31. Whatever might be the result of the next few Bank of Canada overnight rate decisions, I suggest that it is unlikely that the average rate over the next five years will be lower than current – but if you disagree, of course, you may interpret the data any way you like.

Since credit quality of each element of the pair is equal to the other element, it should not make any difference whether the pair examined is investment-grade or junk, although we might expect greater variation of implied rates between junk issues on grounds of lower liquidity, and this is just what we see.

If we plug in the current bid price of the NA.PR.W FixedReset, we may construct the following table showing consistent prices for its soon-may-be-issued FloatingReset counterpart given a variety of Implied Breakeven yields consistent with issues currently trading:

Estimate of FloatingReset (received in exchange for NA.PR.W) Trading Price In Current ConditionsPrice if Implied Bill

is equal to

Based on current market conditions, I suggest that the FloatingResets that will result from conversion are likely to trade below the price of their FixedReset counterparts, NA.PR.W. Therefore,

I recommend that holders of NA.PR.W continue to hold the issue and not to convert. I will note that once the FloatingResets commence trading (if, in fact, they do) it may be a good trade to swap one issue for the other in the market once both elements of each pair are trading and you can – hopefully – do it with a reasonably good take-out in price, rather than doing it through the company on a 1:1 basis. But that, of course, will depend on the prices at that time and your forecast for the path of policy rates over the next five years. There are no guarantees – my recommendation is based on the assumption that current market conditions with respect to the pairs will continue until the FloatingResets commence trading and that the relative pricing of the two new pairs will reflect these conditions.Those who wish to convert are advised that the deadline for notifying the company of such a desire is

January 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (EST). Brokers and other intermediaries generally set their internal deadlines a day or two in advance of this date, so if you wish to convert there’s no time to waste! Note that brokers will, in general, try to execute the instruction on a ‘best efforts’ basis if received between the two deadlines, provided that the procrastinating shareholder grovels entertainingly enough.Posted in Issue Comments | No Comments »