Saturday, 25 October 2014
Is Germany in a credit bubble, participants were asked at IFR’s 2014 German Corporate Funding Roundtable in September. It was the final question at the end of a thoughtful and insightful discussion. The cascade of answers was enlightening: “no”, “not yet”, “no, but it’s approaching”, “we’re close” and “it’s coming and it won’t be the banks that get hurt this time”.
When we started thinking about the timing for a roundtable, we thought the first half of September would be a fantastic time to do it, because it would coincide with a market lull. We were totally wrong.
The lack of credit in the real economy and the paucity of cash available for investment have been cited all over Europe as a major blocker of growth and investment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. It’s an emotive issue that’s has the attention of politicians of all hues.
The Mexican economy is on the cusp of dramatic changes, if prognostications about the impact of the country’s sweeping reform process hold true. In July, IFR hosted a roundtable in Mexico City where bankers, public credit officials and treasurers at some of the country’s largest corporates discussed what these changes might mean for the country’s capital markets – and some of the challenges that lie ahead.
European Equity Capital Markets are hot. The 12 months to June 30 saw total ECM volume of US$311.5bn from 1,143 transactions. By dollar and deal number that is the highest since 2007, but it seems even longer ago for those that survived the three years of famine, 2010–2012.
For the second year running, IFR hosted a well-attended seminar during the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting, held this time in Kazakhstan’s gleaming new capital, Astana. Part of the ADB’s official knowledge-sharing programme, the luncheon event brought together a panel of experts to discuss the development of Asian bond markets at a time when the ADB and other public sector bodies are working hard to promote Asia’s capital markets as an alternative to traditional bank finance.
IFR’s second Schuldscheine Roundtable, held in Frankfurt on March 11, attracted the market’s top originators who were keen to talk about the product’s role in Europe’s nascent private placement market and where we are likely to see activity emerge in the coming year.
The Indian Offshore Financing Roundtable, which took place at the end of 2013 in Mumbai, analyses the current pro and cons for Indian companies looking to raise capital overseas. Held with a senior panel of leading equity capital market professionals, the discussion tracks the history of Indian offshore listings, measures the barometer for listing today, and forecasts future economic and regulatory conditions for Indian companies looking to raise capital post election in 2014.
Hosted by International Financing Review’s Editor-at-Large Keith Mullin, Thomson Reuters IFR Roundtables are “on the record” discussions between senior market professionals – including borrowers, issuers and arrangers – on the key issues driving today’s capital markets.
The discussions provide insight and commentary on market trends from thought-leaders in regional markets and disciplines. Each roundtable is about an hour in length and features authoritative opinion from around eight participants, supplemented with relevant league tables and deal flow data.
Every roundtable is then fully-transcribed and published with IFR magazine, with follow-on participant interviews available through Reuters Insider.
IFR’s inaugural Schuldscheine Roundtable, held on February 21 in Frankfurt, attracted a large group of the market’s brightest and best originators who were keen and eager to talk about why the market has exploded into action on such a global scale and discuss in an interactive setting where we are likely to see activity emerge in the coming year.
IFR’s latest covered bond roundtable in Frankfurt at the end of January was an extremely insightful update not just on market activity and themes but also on the issues currently on the regulatory agenda. It was an opportune moment, too, to review the challenges and achievements of 2012 and look ahead to likely developments in the coming year. Our discussion included participation from an issuer, an investor, an analyst, a lobbyist as well as bank originators so was a well rounded one that looked at the issues across their various dimensions.
IFR’s annual European ECM conference in late October was perfectly timed to catch the near euphoria in equity markets at the time. Delegates were welcomed with an appearance by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, before they turned to the issues and challenges of pricing into a rising market in ECM. The day finished with a roundtable to discuss some of the subjects raised during the conference.
IFR’s third German Corporate Funding Roundtable, which took place in Frankfurt in October, was a pretty bullish affair. Combining loan and DCM bankers as well as a borrower, panellists reviewed year-to-date activity in capital markets but the session focused on expectations for issuance in the year ahead.
Eurobond Retrospective: Tales from the Front Line. Keith Mullin speaks to six veterans of the debt capital markets.
The US equity capital market is enjoying a long-awaited boost as investors thrust cash into equity funds with an enthusiasm not seen for decades. Faced with anaemic returns from fixed-income investments and racing to catch up with index gains, investors are embracing primary issuance with great verve.
IFR hosted a fascinating roundtable recently at which a dozen senior and highly experienced DCM professionals discussed in an open forum the future directions for this key financing class under the title of “Plotting a strategic future for debt capital markets: factoring supply-side and demand drivers into the new structural paradigm”.
Investment banking is in the midst of seminal change. The post-financial crisis era has forced a convergence of regulatory, political and cultural change factors that, together, are beyond the vagaries of mere cyclical elements. That was the essential outcome of IFR’s Future of Investment Banking Roundtable.
IFR’s European Equity Capital Markets Roundtable was held in late October with representatives from the buyside, sellside and a stock exchange. The conversation came at the end of a full-day conference covering all matters related to European ECM.
IFR’s German Corporate Funding Roundtable, held in Frankfurt in mid-October, convened an expert panel of four DCM and four syndicated loan professionals. The conversation was a fascinating and insightful exchange of views and it took place at an equally enthralling point in time.
IFR’s Japan debt capital markets roundtable, held in Tokyo on May 15, found market participants in pensive but upbeat mode. The European sovereign debt crisis is being scrutinised very carefully, but its direct impact on Japanese debt market activity has been relatively marginal. Ten-year JGB yields at just 79bp in early June, a couple of weeks after IFR’s roundtable and yen/dollar at 79, tell their own story.
Being an ECM banker in the European region has been a chastening experience in 2011. After a tough 2010, banks entered the New Year with pipelines bulging with IPO candidates. As 2011 comes to an end those pipelines are still fat with promise from sadly having delivered little.
Sentiment in Malaysia is running high. Participants at IFR’s Malaysian Capital Markets Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur on October 8 noted that the country came through the crisis relatively unscathed. Malaysian banks are generally in good shape and, from a capital markets perspective, the country is broadly self-sufficient.
Indian capital markets are booming. ECM, DCM, loan syndications, infrastructure and M&A are all firing as investors and financiers vie to put their money to work. The tone of IFR’s Indian Capital Markets Roundtable in Mumbai encapsulated the mood perfectly. In a wide-ranging conversation, participants offered up a very positive outlook for the year ahead.
IFR’s UK Bond Market Roundtable, held in London on September 8, found participants in pensive but broadly optimistic mood. Sterling bond issuance has been slow all year, hamstrung by a basis swap that stubbornly refuses to budge, making it uneconomic for non-UK issuers. The same high swap spreads have made the US dollar market compelling for those UK issuers that have ventured into the market. For top UK names, sterling funding has been anything between 25bp and 45bp back of dollars this year.
The debt origination bankers participating in IFR’s German Corporate Funding Roundtable in Frankfurt on July 13 were a confident bunch, but they find themselves in an odd position. Large German corporates and utilities have been absent from the debt capital markets in 2010, having been active fundraisers at the back end of 2008 and through 2009. At the same time, loan market activity has been muted, as banks rework their banking relationships and rethink their approach to lending.
IFR hosted the latest in its Middle Eastern capital markets roundtable series in Dubai in June. Participants were broadly upbeat about prospects for the regional economy and capital markets. In the near term, though, there is concern about the slow pace of economic recovery and the fact that 2010 growth of 3.5% to 4% significantly lags the performance of other emerging markets.
IFR’s Japanese ECM roundtable, which took place in Tokyo on May 19, covered a wide range of subjects, from general sentiment in the market to prospects for equity capital markets issuance and key market drivers and themes.
On February 7, IFR hosted a roundtable discussion at the Dubai Capital Club with participants from Arabtec Holding, Morgan Stanley, Riyad Capital and Standard Chartered Bank. The subject was the outlook for M&A and capital markets in the MENA region, in the wake of the global financial crisis and in light of some well publicised regional difficulties. The bank representatives came from the firms heading the Thomson Reuters M&A, equity capital markets and syndicated lending league tables, respectively, in the MENA region for 2009.
It has been a remarkable year for the covered bond asset class. The record number of new issuers that have entered this market is particularly striking. So is the record widening of spreads, later culminating in an equally dramatic tightening after the ECB waved its magic wand. The prospect of new jurisdictions creating covered bonds markets, or the reintroduction of so-called fallen angels, which in some cases have been in exile for a number of years, sets the scene for an exciting 2010.
There was a time at the beginning of 2009 when some analysts were unwilling to put a figure on potential jumbo issuance. Others went so far as to suggest that the first half of the year would not bring any jumbo issuance whatsoever. And for some jurisdictions, they were right - but not where Pfandbriefe were concerned.
The sovereign market faced two main challenges this year: a growth in its own capacity to raise ever larger amounts of debt, and the additional competition posed by the government guaranteed bank sector. The participants at this year's IFR Sovereign Roundtable were generally in agreement that neither of these had significantly changed how national debt offices go about their everyday role of financing their budget deficits.
Brazil’s capital markets are abuzz with behind-the-scenes activity as issuers talk to potential leads about bringing more than US$16bn worth of local and international supply in the coming months. But the tone remains cautious as issuers come to terms with wider rates and look to justify the higher costs vis-a-vis the duration of their investment programmes and their expected returns.
Safety, transparency and liquidity – these are the three pillars of the covered bond industry. Like a financial Parthenon, the Pfandbrief market enjoys the grandest and oldest pillars of all, and provides the benchmark by which all other covered bond markets are measured.
As 2008 wore on and banks found it increasingly difficult and costly to fund themselves, covered bonds were touted by industry professionals and politicians alike as the panacea for the liquidity drought. But they have also proved susceptible to the illiquidity that has ravaged financial markets, especially in the second half of the year.
Once a relatively sleepy backwater of longer-term project and small-scale FI financings, the loan markets of the Middle East are now global and booming. But as hydrocarbon-fuelled corporates and sovereigns seek to diversify and pick up assets around the world using leverage, the global credit market is facing its severest liquidity test since the early 1990s. Some say the malaise is even more profound than during the last oil shock.
The landscape of the European government bond markets has remained in essence unchanged during the turbulence of the last nine months. All sovereign issuers have been able to rely upon their credit credentials to attract investors into financing their borrowing programmes. While sovereigns, supranational and agency issuers have found a willing and receptive audience, covered bond issuers have been spurned. As a result, the secondary market has all but disappeared for some issuers.
On a crude volume judgement alone it would be easy to conclude that the global credit crisis has bypassed Russia entirely. According to Thomson Financial, in the first three months of the year, Russian firms signed loans worth more than US$18bn making the country the third largest market in Europe. Although this figure is lower than the year prior it is impressive given the collapse in the bond market and general fall in global lending.
Although the non-core bond markets continue to be dominated by borrowers from the SSA sector, it is an area that is fast becoming key in other issuers’ thinking, not least because of the disruption they have experienced to their plans in the more developed currencies.
With the credit and liquidity crises continuing to be played out on the global stage, borrowers’ access to capital has become an increasingly core subject. Even as the situation persists, regulatory bodies are forging ahead with their efforts to lay the foundations of all-encompassing legislation, drafting pre-prescribed directives regarding hybrid capital, transcending jurisdictions and issuer types.
Brazil is on the cusp of becoming an investment grade credit. The sovereign has never looked better and its corporates never healthier. Many enjoy cash-rich positions and a few are able to cross the seas and engage in major acquisitions and vie among the world’s biggest players in sectors such as mining and commodities.
Eight key players involved in European CDOs recently gathered to talk about the impact of this summer's liquidity crisis and how the CDO and wider securitisation markets are likely to change.
The speed in which the heat has gone from the leverage finance market has left most participants reeling. Indeed, had IFR held this roundtable prior to the summer then the conclusions would have been very different.
The Latin American loan market has ostensibly held up well against this summer's credit crunch, with very little seepage from its neighbours to the north. But credit committees at large European and US banks are starting to ramp up the pressure and bankers are warning of tighter terms on the horizon.
Mexico has not been immune to the disruptions caused by US sub-prime problems. But thanks to what is essentially a captive investor base, the country's capital markets have proven relatively resilient.
As the covered bond market continued on its relentless march around the globe in the first half of 2007 and more and more jurisdictions were converted to the cause, one of the major selling points used by the asset class’s most zealous evangelists was that it was, in effect, a proxy rates product rather than part of the credit world.
After initially encountering a number of false starts, the European hybrid capital market has become an established and welcome addition to the capital structure for many corporates. While the €6bn of public issuance in 2006 fell slightly short of volumes seen the previous year, many analysts had expected a bumper crop of supply in 2007, consistent with an increase in M&A activity in the second half of last year.
IFR hosted a roundtable at its offices on June 25 to discuss developments in Sub-Saharan Capital Markets. Participating were Stuart Culverhouse of Exotix, François Ekam-Dick of Iroko Securities, Alex von Sponeck of Merrill Lynch, Francis Beddington of Standard Bank, and Ade Adebajo of Standard Chartered Bank.
Throughout 2006 and the early part of 2007, the non-core currency bond markets have continued to offer opportunities to borrowers and investors alike to enter arenas away from the mainstream markets.
Credit derivatives volumes continue to explode but dealers have convinced regulators that the market is no longer a ticking time-bomb in terms of processing problems.
The main theme in the covered bond market of 2006 has been the addition of new jurisdictions as fresh legislation is passed. Most notably, this included the much-anticipated and successful opening of the US covered bond market courtesy of Washington Mutual in a move widely expected to open the floodgates for more US mortgage lenders looking to latch onto the coattails of this success.
The non-core currency bond markets came into 2006 with renewed optimism. The push into new currencies that dominated the market last year has continued with issuers beginning to embrace a broad range of African currency markets including Botswanan pula, Egyptian pounds, Tanzanian shillings and Namibian dollars. Many have been structured as synthetic transactions as the clearing houses catch up with the new trends, but investors have embraced the opportunity to pick-up yield in a historically low rate environment.
Brazilian capital markets are at an historic turning point. The leading South American economy is the darling of emerging markets investors and an influx of foreign capital is expected to revolutionise the nation's credit profile and local corporate finance.
The European commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) market has gone into overdrive this year. Observers from the Street, to the broadsheet press, from head hunters to corporate law firms are all talking about product that has moved from niche to mainstream over the past 12-months. And it's still building momentum.
It has been a year of good problems for the CDO market. Demand for structured credit products remains extremely strong, despite stubbornly low spreads. This has led to difficulty in sourcing assets to place in cash CDOs, though the continuing sharp growth in deal volumes for cash trades is testament to the way that arrangers and managers have diversified in the structured finance, real estate and middle market loan sectors.
IFR hosted its first leveraged finance roundtable on September 14 and, much like the leveraged market itself, things got hot pretty quick.
When IFR held its second convertible bond roundtable on February 17, the participants – Stephan Theissing of Allianz, Douglas Decker (Barclays Capital), Franck Cazaubieilh (BNP Paribas), Martin Fisch (Deutsche Bank), Manish Wadhwani (HVB), Viswas Raghavan (JP Morgan), Antoine de Guillenchmidt (Merrill Lynch) and Lorraine Lodge (Nomura) – had a lot to talk about.