Corporate Social Responsibility 2008
Most people do not derive pleasure from harming those around them. The same is true of most businesses. There are, of course, some that derive their profits directly from morally questionable pursuits, such as arms trading. But many more companies incur the wrath of a new generation of ethically activist investors and consumers for actions that are peripheral to their core business: factories that pollute rivers; manufacturers that employ underage workers or do not provide safe working conditions; or power companies that emit excessive greenhouse gases – or leave a legacy of radioactive waste for future generations to deal with.
Warren Buffett famously called them financial weapons of mass destruction. In the world of derivatives, there has probably never been so much devastation as was evident in the aftermath of the collapses of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman Brothers.
Debt Capital Markets 2008
It has been the most difficult year in living memory for finance. Less than twelve months ago, many bankers were still optimistic that they would arrive back at their desks for the New Year to be greeted by a newly resurgent market. How naïve that seems now.
Environmental Finance 2008
The financing landscape for environmental projects has changed dramatically in the past two years, though it remains deeply fragmented between markets and sectors. With ever-more cash flowing into environmental initiatives around the world, is the sector poised to enter a period of unprecedented, long-term growth? Savita Iyer-Ahrestani reports.
National Champions of the ECM 2008
A look around the top investment banking players in Europe in the current climate quickly confirms the difficulties most have faced since the middle of 2007. An analysis of the individual performance of those banks is inevitably a kind of referendum on their performance in the face of the credit crunch, although they do not operate on a level playing field, and the impact the crisis has had has been determined – at least to some extent – by the country in which the bank operates.
IMF/World Bank 2008
A little over 12 months ago, bankers still regarded emerging markets with the kind of excitement usually exhibited by young children approaching their birthdays. Constituting a significant proportion of the world’s land mass, emerging markets seemed to offer almost boundless opportunities as they struggled to close the gap on their more developed neighbours.
India stands on the threshold of economic greatness, if only it can ride out the global credit squeeze and overcome an innate desire to regulate itself out of international competitiveness.
Top 250 Borrowers 2008
Pfandbriefe/Covered Bonds 2008
It has been an interesting year for covered bonds. While few asset classes outside commodities have flourished in the current market conditions, covered bonds on aggregate have enjoyed relatively good performance. This has ranged from being among the least bad performers in the credit universe in some of the newer covered bonds markets – such as Spain and the UK – to delivering very good returns in absolute terms in some of the more established markets – like Germany and France.
Triple-A Issuers 2008
Investors have frequently fallen into the trap of viewing the Triple A label as the equivalent of a capital guarantee. Being less sophisticated, retail investors have been particularly susceptible to this. In the extended bull market that finally ended in the summer of 2007 this illusion looked increasingly like reality and investors had no reason to question the system that was bringing them consistent financial rewards.
So much fuss has been made of the political issues raging around Turkey in recent years that it is easy to forget its financial markets. The question of Turkish membership of the EU has received more column inches throughout Europe and Turkey than many other issues put together. More recently, the question of how far Turkey’s secular traditions should be respected has been equally explosive.
Middle East 2008
Welcome to the third annual Reuters International Financial Review (IFR) and Project Finance International (PFI) report on the Middle East capital markets. We publish the report at a time of unprecedented turbulence in the global markets. For much of this year the Middle East has shown a degree of isolation from the global problems, but the latest shocks to the system will have an impact even in this region.
In fashion, as in finance, things move quickly. It is clear from Moscow’s ubiquitous designer handbags and expensively tailored suits that the 1990s are but a fading memory for the devoted fashionistas of the new millennium.
Central and Eastern Europe 2008
Bankers feared the worst in the German loan market as credit conditions deteriorated throughout 2007 amid the reverberations of the collapsing US housing sector, but the worst has not happened. Prices have been hit but the markets remain open, especially for corporates that have built up strong relationships with a syndicate of banks, as David Cox reports.
Latin America 2008
No longer at the centre of the financial crisis as in times past, Latin America has been relatively resilient amid the storm generated by the US credit crisis. On the contrary, the region has been seen as a sort of safe haven, given the strong fundamentals, deepening local markets and upward ratings trajectories in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia.