Wednesday, 12 December 2018
The European sovereign debt crisis provided a sombre backdrop to developments in global investment banking, particularly in the second half of 2011. One firm accelerated and consolidated its truly impressive build-out. For increasing market share, executing more than its fair share of the year’s stand-out business, staying profitable throughout, and transforming itself into an increasingly go-to investment bank, Barclays Capital is IFR’s 2011 Bank of the Year.
Keep calm and carry on: There comes a point when a frequent borrower can extract a tangible benefit from pursuing a long-sighted and well-executed issuance strategy. The UK’s Debt Management Office reaped this benefit in 2011 and is IFR’s SSAR Issuer of the Year and Issuer of the Year.
Call it a come-back: The investment-grade bond market has been a particularly unforgiving place over the past 12 months. It took a smart, nimble and quick underwriter to price trades and maintain a decent share of this unprecedented, volatile market. For exceeding expectations, regaining market share and being a thought-leader, Citigroup is IFR’s US Dollar Bond House of the Year.
Return of the Rock: Gosforth Funding 2011-1 re-established Northern Rock’s presence in the securitisation market after a tumultuous four-year period. For providing a clean structure that enabled investors to concentrate squarely on portfolio quality of the new bank and not extension risk, while allowing the new bank to distance itself from the originator’s history, the transaction is IFR’s EMEA Securitisation of the Year.
A league of its own: JP Morgan is usually top of the US syndicated loan league tables, but the bank showed it was in a league of its own in 2011. For courageous choices, consistent intellectual leadership and proving itself as the premier shop for marquee borrowers, JP Morgan is IFR’s North America Loan House of the Year.
A ferocious competitor: In a robust restructuring environment Lazard is a formidable competitor. But when defaults are low and capital is plentiful, the assignments are fewer and competition by necessity is ferocious. It’s then that Lazard stands out like a lion at the last watering hole – with a reputation for taking more than its share. Lazard is IFR’s Americas Restructuring Adviser of the Year.
Fortune favours the brave: In a year where sovereigns dominated EEMEA issuance, a big, multi-tranche deal from a high-yield corporate out of Russia always had the potential to stand out. VimpelCom’s US$2.2bn three-part offering did not let anyone down and wins IFR’s Emerging EMEA Bond of the Year.
Crazy paving: Mosaic’s tax-free split-off, while notable for its size and execution, was merely an interim step in one of the most complicated asset monetisations in capital markets history. For structural nuances that pushed the thresholds of market constraints, Mosaic Company’s US$7.5bn stock offering is IFR’s North America Equity Issue of the Year.
Standing tall: Structured equity volume disappointed in 2011 even though market volatility should have been beneficial. Yet one firm’s integrated global approach allowed it to find issuers. For its leadership in a vital, but underused asset class, Goldman Sachs is IFR’s Structured Equity House of the Year and Americas Structured Equity House of the Year.
Leading the way: As the eurozone sovereign debt crisis intensified in 2011, the credit market experienced its most challenging year since 2008. Volatility soared as participants cut exposure, leaving many casualties along the way. For its leading role in guiding clients through the crisis with unparalleled liquidity provision and market insight, Deutsche Bank is IFR’s Credit Derivatives House of the Year.
The past 12 months have been arduous. Once again, global capital markets were dominated by the same relatively small set of inter-locking issues that commanded attention in the previous year. In fact, a quick scan of the foreword to IFR’s 2010 Review of the Year suggests little has changed in the intervening period.
European banks can no longer take funding for granted. Investors surveying the credit, sovereign and regulatory environment in Europe have a host of reasons to take their money elsewhere. Until the regulatory picture becomes clearer and the European sovereign crisis eases, life is not likely to get much easier for those in charge of bank funding.
The European sovereign crisis hit ECM hard and nowhere harder than European IPOs. While US$36bn priced in the year, US$26bn launched and cancelled – with far more postponed before launch. European ECM bankers could learn from the US and Asia, but radical change is unlikely, so for 2012 to be any different all market participants will need to be honest and flexible – unlike today.
We’ve reached the end of a pretty momentous year in the markets. It’s been fascinating and captivating, but at the same time it’s also been incredibly frustrating, occasionally frightening, and certainly confounding. Here, Keith Mullin, IFR’s editor-at-large, gives a Mullin’s eye view of a turbulent year.
Assurances of tighter security after the Kerviel scandal did not provide much comfort to UBS when the firm suffered a huge loss – doubts remain that there is a 100% fail-safe system to prevent another rogue trading incident.
The past year will be remembered as less than a banner period for US IPOs, especially in terms of overall performance. One bright spot in an otherwise challenging ECM landscape was the return of hyper-growth offerings – including some of the best and brightest social media companies – as compelling and highly sought-after IPO candidates.
A confluence of factors, notably rock bottom interest rates in the West, has been like a shot of steroids for cross-border local currency bond deals, giving issuers a realistic alternative to the major currencies. But how long will the effect last?
The offshore renminbi bond market is playing an important part in China’s internationalisation of its currency, giving investors a tantalising opportunity to build exposure to the renminbi. Take away the currency game, however, and its development as a genuine credit market has been far slower.
With new issue spreads continuing to lag behind banks’ funding costs by a discomforting margin and the credit environment set to worsen, the sustainability of the syndicated loan business is under intense scrutiny. Will pricing sanity finally prevail?
Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, there has been considerable flux in the leadership of the investment banking industry. The change has been considerable in terms of personnel. But has it produced a change of culture, to go with a more humble time for the industry?
As investment banking activity slumped in Tokyo in 2011 – hit by natural disasters, Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and the weak US economy – fresh questions were raised over the commitment of foreign banks – particularly those from crisis-hit Europe – to their Japanese operations. As the end of the year approached, job losses had started to accelerate.