Risk’s deal of the year could barely have occurred under more inauspicious circumstances. For banks already stumbling under the weight of toxic assets, the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, served to heighten market nerves dramatically. At Benelux bancassurer Fortis, the situation was worse than most.
The beleaguered Brussels- and Utrecht-based firm had already seen its shares slide 50% from the beginning of that year to September 12. In the weeks following Lehman’s implosion,