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What is Dividend Enhanced Convertible Stock (DECS)?

Dividend Enhanced Convertible Stock (DECS) is a unique financial instrument that combines the characteristics of preferred stock and convertible bonds. DECS offers investors the opportunity to earn premium dividends while maintaining the option to convert their shares into common stock at a later date. In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of DECS, its conversion mechanism, and its position among other convertible preferred stock options.

What is Dividend Enhanced Convertible Stock (DECS)? (200 words): Dividend Enhanced Convertible Stock (DECS) is a type of preferred stock that provides holders with premium dividends in addition to an embedded option for converting the shares into a fixed number of common shares after a predetermined date. Unlike traditional convertible securities, DECS obligate the holder to convert their shares into common stock at a specified time.

The conversion period for DECS typically spans three to four years from the initial purchase, as determined by the issuing company. This mandatory conversion feature differentiates DECS from other convertible instruments, such as bonds. Additionally, DECS offer downside protection through a put feature, which limits potential losses for investors. The conversion ratio for DECS remains at 1:1 until the underlying shares reach a certain price level.

DECS and Other Convertible Preferreds (150 words): DECS are part of a broader category of non-traditional convertible products. Other examples include Preferred Equity Redemption Cumulative Stocks (PERCS), Preferred Redeemable Increased Dividend Equity Security (PRIDES), Automatically Convertible Equity Securities (ACES), and Structured Yield Product Exchangeable For Stock (STRYPES). Each of these hybrid models has its own risk and reward characteristics, but they share the common feature of offering higher-than-market dividend rates.

DECS, originating from different investment banks, provide benefits to both issuers and investors. From the issuer's perspective, these instruments do not pose credit risks like pure debt issuances, as they eventually convert into equity. Moreover, DECS eliminate the immediate downward pressure on the underlying stock that a pure equity issuance would create.


This is a type of automatically convertible security that comes in the form of preferred stock shares, which function basically like bonds, that experience a mandatory conversion to common stock at some point.

The dividend enhancement is a higher yield payout than other share classes are offered, to compensate the investor for the lack of control he or she has, since the shares will be converted at a predetermined time by the company. Mandatory convertible shares will offer a higher yield than their counterparts, but it will only last as long as the issuing company has determined.

The investor who purchases DECS gets preferred shares with high yield but has limited upside potential. The conversion usually comes at a predetermined fixed rate, and the conversion ratio actually starts to decrease once the price of the underlying shares reaches a certain point. Up until that point the conversion ratio is 1:1, and the DECS shares may be issued at the same market price as the underlying stock.

The investor trades the upside potential in the short term for the guaranteed, high-yield dividend. Because the ultimate market value of the DECS is tied to the common shares, it is still sensitive to price movements of the common stock, and its value can decline significantly depending on the value of the underlying.

Preferred Equity Redeemable Cumulative (PERC) shares are similar, but they are redeemed for cash instead of converted, but they too, are mandatory redemptions. These also fall under the category of structured convertibles.

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