l Spain said yesterday it would help tens of thousands of small investors who were sold risky debt in banks, often thinking they were low-risk deposits, using funds from the country's bank Deposit Guarantee Fund. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said at a news conference that holders of the debt instruments - known as preference shares - would receive bank shares in exchange. The decree passed by the government yesterday applies to investments in nationalised banks. Since some of Spain's nationalised banks are not listed, the government will look for a way to use the Deposit Guarantee Fund to make the shares liquid, Saenz de Santamaria said.