Key roles on many of the year’s most important transactions, an increase in market share, and a resurgent sterling business were all hallmarks of Deutsche Bank’s activities in 2021. ESG was another area where the bank led the market. Deutsche Bank is IFR’s SSAR Bond House of the Year.
2021 was characterised by a far more sanguine market backdrop as central bank support sucked out a lot of volatility, though this created its own challenges for banks looking to distinguish themselves.
They may not have faced as testing a market environment as in 2020 when the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc, but the mostly placid conditions provided a new challenge: how to excel and stand out when big books and minimal new issue concessions became commonplace.
Deutsche Bank managed this better than any other, playing a key role on several of the year’s signature deals and grabbing an increasing share of the broader market, with its performance in supranational and sterling issuance particularly impressive.
“It was a year of very strong market technicals and the majority of trades worked really well. Where we have tried to demonstrate our strength is partnering with clients for their most strategic transactions. We landed a number of groundbreaking trades and made significant progress in terms of market share,” said Neal Ganatra, head of SSA syndicate at Deutsche.
The irrepressible rise of ESG issuance continued unabated throughout the year, with blockbuster debut green deals providing several of the annual highlights.
“The most important trades in the ESG space were the NextGenerationEU green debut, the Spain green debut and the inaugural green Gilt from the UK, and Deutsche Bank was on the top line on all of these transactions. This is by no means a coincidence and shows that clients turn to us for their most strategic trades and value our advice to ensure smooth execution,” said Ganatra.
The bank’s troubles in previous years have been well documented but this is no longer a recovery story. Deutsche is now firmly back at the top table. It moved back into the top five of the all-currency SSAR bonds table and sat atop the 2021 supranational league table, rising from seventh position the previous year, according to IFR data, thanks in no small part to the strength of its relationship with the European Union.
“We’ve basically helped the EU in their transition process from a small player to the number one European non-sovereign debt issuer. We’ve helped them throughout the whole process of their transformation with many different elements. This has resulted in a great market share with the EU, in what is a very competitive environment,” said Achim Linsenmaier, global head of public sector origination at Deutsche.
The sterling market is another area in which the bank excelled, jumping an impressive nine places in SSAR league tables for the currency and more than doubling its market share to 7.8% from 3.7%.
“We’ve rebuilt businesses that we feel are important and the sterling business is a prime example of that. It’s a big market and very strategic for our clients. You could say sterling has been the missing jewel in our crown,” said Ganatra.
The inaugural green Gilt in September was the highlight as the rousing response for the £10bn July 2033 note broke records for size, demand and pricing in the asset class. At the time, it was the largest ever sovereign green bond, with the biggest-ever green order book and set a new pricing benchmark with a 2.5bp greenium.
The size and order book records didn’t last long though. The following month Deutsche lead managed the EU's stunning green debut, a €12bn 15-year NGEU benchmark that had more than €135bn of orders.
“In a number of cases these transactions were built over a number of years. The UK, for instance, has been in discussion over this for a long time,” said Ganatra.
While other banks were shrinking their presence with sovereigns, Deutsche was looking to grow, adding primary dealerships with Belgium and Cyprus. Primary dealerships with Austria, France and Italy helped yield high-profile transactions from those sovereigns, but it was the relationship with Spain that caught the eye. Deutsche landed a lead manager role on the sovereign’s inaugural €5bn 20-year green bond in what was the bank’s first mandate from Spain since 2014.
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