Sunday, 18 March 2018
Banking and capital markets certainly didn’t lack drama in 2016 as the industry battled a complex and volatile operating environment, while individual firms pushed forward with strategic recalibrations and strove to improve returns. There may not have been any dazzling epiphanies, but one firm resolutely continued its steady progress and made impressive strides. Citigroup is IFR’s Bank of the Year.
In a year of political shocks and whipsawing markets, one bank showed particular leadership. For remaining committed to clients through all the ups and downs, reopening markets after periods of stress and developing creative solutions, Goldman Sachs is IFR’s US Bond House of the Year.
In the space of a year, Saudi Arabia has established a debt management office, sold a jumbo syndicated loan and issued the biggest publicly syndicated sovereign bond deal in history. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is IFR’s Issuer and SSAR Issuer of the Year.
Despite squeezed profits and tougher conditions in European securitisation, Morgan Stanley has emerged as a leader in a slice of the market that holds significant promise for the future, making the bank IFR’s EMEA Structured Finance House of the Year.
It was the year of the re-emergence of Russian issuance, the Middle East sovereign jumbo and liability management. No bank did more to lead those themes than JP Morgan, which wins IFR’s Emerging EMEA Bond House of the Year.
Credit markets whipsawed in 2016, driven by macro events and liquidity constraints, increasing demand for full-service provision. For its dominance of credit derivatives markets, its commitment to matching client risk appetite with investment opportunities and its ability to price and warehouse risk, JP Morgan is IFR’s Credit Derivatives House of the Year.
Executing the largest IPOs, reopening markets, entering new markets, building on repeat business and picking the right windows in uncertain times – one bank did it all. For always being in the driver’s seat, Goldman Sachs is IFR’s EMEA Equity House of the Year.
Barclays started to build its US leveraged franchise in 2006 by hand-picking staff from competitors and a decade later is a powerhouse in leveraged and investment-grade financing. For cementing a leading position among US banking titans, Barclays is IFR’s Americas Loan House of the Year.
Deutsche Bank pushed issuers and investors alike with a mix of structuring nous and pricing perfection. The bank led two award-winning deals thanks to an approach to client solutions unmatched by its rivals. Along the way it also picked up a two-thirds increase in market share. Deutsche Bank is IFR’s Structured Equity House of the Year.
The IFR Americas Awards seek to recognise outstanding capital markets achievement in the US, Canada and Latin America. These Awards will be presented at a special ceremony, taking place on February 7 2017 at the Thomson Reuters Building, 3 Times Square, New York.
The IFR Asia Awards honour achievement in Asia’s capital markets. The Awards will be presented at the 2016 IFR Asia Awards Dinner, taking place on February 21 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.
Bunds were hardly a screaming buy at the beginning of 2016. Far from it: shorter-dated paper offered investors next to no yield at all; and even at the longer end, a 0.1% coupon on 30-year debt must have seemed like scant compensation for all the risks that might befall the investment during that time.
Few equity capital markets bankers will look back fondly on 2016. For most, the year was a long, uncomfortable ride that saw markets lurch from one extreme to the other – a year of political upheaval in the UK and Brazil, of a collapse in the wider commodity complex, and of ebbing confidence in China’s growth model. Along the way, deal after deal was caught out; almost every team came out the year scarred in one way or another.
China completed its takeover of the Asian capital markets in 2016 – at least in terms of numbers. Combining debt and equity in all currencies, nine of the region’s top 10 underwriters are Chinese. Where four global banks ranked among the top 10 in 2015, only HSBC – arguably the most Chinese of the global banks – managed that in 2016, ranking ninth on the Thomson Reuters league table.
Banks are under pressure to improve the consistency and transparency around their so-called corporate centres due to concerns that the units have become “black boxes” that are used to make other divisions appear better than they are.
The rise and rise of the passive fund is yet another result of the low interest rate environment. And a worrying one.
Here at Bellwether, we are more than used to moving in exalted circles, such is the high esteem in which we are held.
Global mergers and acquisitions activity fell in 2016 from the previous year’s record, but there was one pocket of extraordinary growth – the record volume of cross-border acquisitions by Chinese companies across Europe and the US.
Have you heard the one-liner about banks being badly run technology firms with a sideline in finance? It may be a poor joke but many a true word is spoken in jest.
Politicians, bank regulators, supervisors and central bankers the world over have spent close to 10 years trying to eradicate the root causes of the 2007–08 global financial crisis. Bank leaders have spent the same period trying to modify and mould the structures and profiles of their institutions to meet the requirements and obligations of what has become a veritable regulatory onslaught.