Silicon Valley Bank Collapse - What's Our Take-Away?

Rick Coen |

As a financial advisor, it's important to keep a close eye on what's happening in the world of finance, and this week was certainly no exception. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a well-known institution with a niche in serving tech companies and startups, collapsed after experiencing a bank run. This has sparked concern among many, but as a seasoned advisor who has been through bank failures before, I believe there are important lessons to be learned from this event.

First and foremost, it's important to understand what happened to SVB. The bank announced large losses and the need for a capital raise in a mid-quarter update, causing panic among depositors. The CEO stating “...the last thing we need you to do is panic” didn't help. What do you suppose was the only word people heard? This led to a run on the bank, with depositors withdrawing cash and causing the stock to lose 60% of its value in one day. SVB was eventually placed into receivership by the FDIC after it became clear that the bank had not managed its risk well.

SVB's collapse highlights the importance of diversification. The bank had a niche specialty in serving tech companies, and many of its clients were in the tech industry. This concentration of risk ultimately led to the bank's downfall. As an advisor, I always stress the importance of diversifying across all sectors and regions, not just in tech or the US. This is the key takeaway from SVB's collapse.

For depositors, it's important to understand the FDIC insurance limit of $250,000. Depositors with less than $250,000 in the bank will have access to their money, while those with more than $250,000 will receive a receivership certificate. The FDIC will sell the bank's assets over time to pay off depositors. It remains to be seen whether there will be enough to go around to make every depositor whole.

The broader market is also concerned about the ripple effects of SVB's collapse. While it's doubtful that there will be more collapses like this during the current market environment, it's important to remain vigilant and keep an eye on the situation.

In conclusion, SVB's collapse serves as a stark reminder of the importance of diversification. As an advisor, I urge my clients to diversify their investments across all sectors and regions to minimize their risk. While SVB's collapse is concerning, we will survive it, and hopefully, we can all learn from this event.