Article | Journal of Financial Economics | March 1994

The Collapse of First Executive Corporation: Junk Bonds, Adverse Publicity, and the Run on the Bank Phenomenon

by S. C. Gilson, H. DeAngelo and L. DeAngelo

Abstract

In April 1991, regulators seized the major subsidiaries of First Executive Corporation (FE), an insurer that invested heavily in junk bonds. During the junk bond market turmoil of 1989–1990, adverse publicity fueled a bank run at FE, forcing a $4 billion portfolio liquidation before the market rose 50–60% in 1991–1992. More traditional insurers did not receive commensurate press coverage, despite their substantial exposure to real estate declines, which were roughly 2.5 times the junk bond decline. Seizure of FE's subsidiaries was defensible, although FE would have become solvent within a year, given average junk bond market appreciation.

Keywords: Business Ventures; Bonds; Banks and Banking;

Citation:

Gilson, S. C., H. DeAngelo, and L. DeAngelo. "The Collapse of First Executive Corporation: Junk Bonds, Adverse Publicity, and the Run on the Bank Phenomenon." Journal of Financial Economics 36 (March 1994): 287–336.