Sunday, 21 April 2019
More than a survivor:Thanks to its belief in old-fashioned banking virtues, JP Morgan is in a position to become the pre-eminent financial institution of the first half of the 21st century. It dodged most of the bullets of the financial crisis by a relentless focus on careful banking and has also built a global investment banking deal machine that is the envy of its rivals. JP Morgan is IFR’s Bank of the Year.
Ready to capitalise: KfW, the German financing agency, faced a borrowing target of €75bn in 2008 – the largest amount it has had to fund since its creation in 1948. By acting decisively when market conditions presented opportunities for issuance, KfW was alone in being able to issue in all major currencies and in all benchmark maturities, making it IFR’s Supranational/Sovereign/Agency/Regional Issuer of the Year.
Vision and leadership: Throughout the turbulent conditions that epitomised 2008, few houses featured in virtually every conversation regarding the bond markets. JP Morgan was one of these, its advice and execution capabilities a sought-after commodity in straitened times. It remained a prominent and credible partner across asset classes and currencies, providing vision and leadership. JP Morgan is IFR’s Bond House of the Year and US Dollar Bond House of the Year.
Louisiana energised: For its unique financing structure that uses a novel combination of securitisation technology and municipal financing, for its significant cost saving to the US taxpayer and for its placement to a wide range of real-money investors at a time of considerable market stress, the Louisiana Utilities Restoration Corporation Project/ELL is IFR’s US Securitisation of the Year.
Raising the bar: It is not easy to be all things to all people, but JP Morgan once again emerged as the standard-bearer of the investment-grade loan market, balancing the needs of issuers and investors alike through creative pricing structures and marquee transactions. The bank helped sustain liquidity at crucial times for corporate issuers, and is IFR’s US Loan House of the Year.
The dominant player: In one of the most challenging years on record, six banks tightened their grip on the EEMEA Eurobond market. However, once again it was Citi’s veteran team that came out on top. Securing a healthy league table lead over its main rivals with a breadth and range of well executed transactions, Citi is IFR’s Emerging EMEA Bond House of the Year.
Strength in depth: Few banks were able to maintain a full service across asset classes in 2008. But firms that had taken a conservative attitude to risk were suddenly well positioned to capture market share. For being there for clients and for helping to maintain liquidity, while capitalising on its counterparty strength to win significant mandates, JP Morgan is IFR’s Derivatives House of the Year and Credit Derivatives House of the Year.
Flawless execution: Priced in the middle of the most hostile IPO market in more than 30 years, Visa’s historic US$19.7bn IPO proved that only the very best deals price well in poor conditions. For innovative marketing and flawless execution on the largest US IPO, and for introducing sovereign wealth funds to the market, Visa is IFR’s Americas Equity Issue of the Year.
On the money: A year that began with high expectations for structured equity issuance thanks to rising volatility soon turned into another year of disappointment. At best, issuance came in fits and starts, but largely the markets were dormant as credit issues, falling equity values and excessive volatility made new issues challenging. Yet in these markets one bank provided issuers with smooth execution. JP Morgan is IFR’s Structured Equity House of the Year and also wins the regional house awards for EMEA and Asia-Pacific.
For much of the past year, banks have been frantically trying to sell off unwanted stockpiles of securitised credit. Buyers have been few and far between, resulting in a pricing nosedive and a dismal parade of multi-billion dollar write-downs. The market may have gone too far. Analysts and valuation experts argue that much of this paper is actually worth far more than current prices suggest, and some investors now see a chance to make a killing. Duncan Wood reports.
It’s been a while since the world has expected anything positive from Japanese banks. But in the darkest months of 2008 they emerged as unlikely heroes for their counterparts in the west. Cash-rich yet inefficient, the megabanks of Japan are stuffed with deposits that wobbly Wall Street financiers would kill for, but does their opportunism prove their role in world finance has changed? Chris Wright reports.
With the aid of a telescope and some determined optimism, it’s just about possible to make out a silver lining to the financial crisis: if banks, investors, rating agencies and regulators collectively misunderstood credit risk and liquidity risk in the period leading up to August 2007, they will at least be a bit smarter now. Before anyone breaks out the bunting, however, it’s worth thinking about the implications of this new knowledge. Duncan Wood reports.
While politicians struggle to save the financial system from collapse, their focus has been almost exclusively on how to restore confidence and get banks lending again. The more fundamental question of what must be done to ensure that the same problems don’t reappear has been less prominent. Solomon Teague reports.
The last year has been an epic journey. At the start of 2008, already spooked markets stood at an unmarked crossroads, but it was impossible to judge which route they had taken until into the third quarter. What can those investors still standing do now? Vanessa Rossi, senior research fellow at Chatham House, London, reports.
As global default rates begin to rise from historic lows, restructuring professionals – anticipating a robust workout cycle – are becoming more apprehensive about the future. In the face of a collapse in the global credit markets one thing is certain: the coming restructuring cycle will be unlike the previous one – and perhaps anything we’ve seen before. Philip Scipio reports.
In the maelstrom unleashed by the global financial crisis, many, in their panic, have concluded that CDS are the devil’s own creation, ignoring the benefits these contracts have brought to the system. As regulators look for a scapegoat for financial market woes, is there a danger the CDS baby could be thrown out with the bathwater? Savita Iyer-Ahrestani reports.
The leveraged finance industry is facing a structural change as the market shrinks with the permanent departure of many CLO investors. Participants say it is time the market returns to more conservative lending and less aggressive structures, reports Han-Nee Tay.
Six months ago Islamic finance barely registered on the radar of many in the financial system. But financial complexity and unfettered markets – once the path to great rewards for those able to exploit them – have proved their own worst enemy, making simplicity all the more appealing. This has paved the way for the advancement of Islamic finance, as Savita Iyer-Ahrestani reports.
Covered bond issuance has ground to a halt in a sign that the credit contagion has left no haven truly safe. Even as US authorities encourage issuance to provide some reprieve for mortgage lenders, the typically active European market shows little signs of life. Han-Nee Tay reports.