Thursday, 24 January 2019
International dialing: It was a year to remember for America Movil. The Mexican telecommunications giant opened or reopened the debt markets in five currencies, did a jumbo debt swap and repriced the entire corporate loan market for Latin America with a remarkable revolver. For opening new frontiers in capital markets amid volatile times, America Movil is IFR’s Americas Issuer of the Year.
A safe pair of hands: A great bond underwriter in Canada had to be able drive a small group of issuers and investors to new limits. Deal sizes had to expand, tenors had to be pushed out, and new pockets of demand opened up. For doing all this and more, RBC Capital Markets is IFR’s Canada Bond House of the Year.
Smart and bold: Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the most active bank in Latin America, having done the highest number of deals across sectors and throughout the rating spectrum. For leading the way successfully, exploring new structures, and bringing fresh names to the market, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is IFR’s Latin America Bond House of the Year.
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.
There has been a stock repurchase boom across the US in 2011 as many companies flush with cash have decided that they would prefer to buy back their own stock at deflated prices rather than expand their operations in a bad economy. Some banks have been able to join the party. But not all.
The Volcker Rule has cast a long shadow. It was intended to prevent US banks from making big bets on markets with their own money, or backing private equity or hedge funds to do it for them. But several important issues remain unsettled and many in the industry still hope it will undergo significant changes before it is finalised.
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.
The US municipal bond market began 2011 in a vulnerable state. Most federal economic stimulus programmes, including the first large-scale move into selling taxable securities, ended in 2010. Long-awaited political initiatives to support tax-exempt borrowing never materialised and investor confidence ebbed, depressed further by a cacophony of negative headlines.
Canada’s “big five” banks have sailed through the crisis-hit last few years and are now in a strong position to make overseas acquisitions. They are likely to remain relatively cautious, but know that troubles in Europe and the US give them once in a generation opportunities to expand into new areas.
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 the months wore on, bankers and lobbyists alike had begun to lose hope that any meaningful progress would be made to establish a covered bond market in the US. After all, efforts to create a platform for banks to issue the debt instruments so popular in Europe has been years in the making.