Business Irish

Thursday 14 December 2017

David Bowie pushed financial as well as musical boundaries

David Bowie
David Bowie
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

David Bowie's innovations in rock music and fashion also stretched to financial markets.

The musician, who passed away on Sunday, was the first to securitise royalty streams when he and investment banker David Pullman created and sold $55m (€50m) of what came to be known as Bowie Bonds in 1997.

The bonds were tied to future royalty earnings from Bowie's massive back catalogue - including 'Space Oddity' and 'Changes' and carried an interest rate of 7.9pc.

The scheme allowed Bowie, and later other artists, to raise money without selling off their works completely or waiting years for income to roll in.

Large scale securitisation, especially of mortgages and business loans, has been blamed for fuelling the global credit bubble, though in Bowie's case the notes were repaid in 2007 and some of the cash raised had been used to buy back rights to other recordings.

The Bowie Bonds - Pullman Bonds never caught on as an expression - paved the way for a now-thriving market for esoteric asset-backed securities. Entertainers from Rod Stewart to heavy metal band Iron Maiden have sold similar securities, while bonds backed by everything from timeshare rentals to shipping containers and even dirty laundry have proved popular with investors seeking higher yields.

"Bowie's bonds were as groundbreaking as his music," said Rob Ford, a London-based money manager at TwentyFour Asset Management, which oversees £5.3bn in assets.

"Not only were they followed by a number of other artists, but they set the template for deals backed by a whole range of assets."

Bowie (69) died after an 18-month battle with cancer, according to a statement on his social-media accounts.

(Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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