From villains to heroes

On 26 November last year, Citi, the US banking giant, announced - with a ring of nostalgia for those who remember the Latin American debt crisis - that it would sell $7.5 billion of mandatory convertible equity units with an 11% coupon to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Between then and April 2008 a further $40 billion of bank equity instruments have been sold to sovereign wealth funds. Morgan Stanley, UBS, Merrill Lynch and others have sold stakes up to 9% to the Government of Singapore