The Best Sovereign Funding Official award was given to the Hellenic Republics Spyros Papanicolaou. Finland was crowned Best Sovereign Funding Team, and they received the news with high fives and humility.
"It was a pleasant surprise and very important for the whole team, which is much larger than the banks see," says Ari-Pekka Latti, Finlands deputy director of finance, responsible for funding and liquidity management. "I was happy that risk management, back office and legal, which are not in the spotlight, got recognition. We were all very happy about the good feedback from our major banking partners. I think it reflects our open and responsive policy.
"We have made a partnership with banks over the last 10 years. We do not take every suggestion from every bank of course we have to have an element of conservatism but the way we react and communicate with banks changed has changed to how it was 10 years ago. It is more of an open dialogue we are in a functioning dialogue with banks on a daily basis."
In the supranational and agency sector, the European Investment Bank picked up three awards Most Impressive Borrower in Yen, Swiss Francs and Euros. In euros it has issued a record Eu37bn, but Carlos Ferreira da Silva, the EIBs head of funding in euros, believes it is not just the amount of debt it has sold that won the EIB votes.
"Obviously volume has played a role," he says, "but mainly we have been able to seize market opportunities in a timely manner and offer diversification. Deals have performed well and investors have come back to buy more. As a very frequent borrower we are in constant contact with everyone in the business. We get a lot of advice from banks, but also do a lot in terms of investor relations work. We went on the road, especially for the benchmarks difficult maturities, like the 15 year."
In Swiss francs, the story is similar. The EIB has issued close to Eu2bn in Swiss francs this year in 10 new issues or taps ranging from 2011 to 2036.
"The Swiss franc hasnt lost its characteristic safe-haven status," says Richard Teichmeister, head of Swiss franc funding at the EIB. "Our strategy is to increase existing bonds and react to specific requests for tailor-made smaller private placements."
Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten picked up the prizes for Best Public Sector Issuer with an Issuance Programme of under Eu40bn while Bart Van Dooren won Best Funding Official with a Funding Programme of Less Than Eu40bn. "Paying up in the beginning to get liquidity is part of the reason for our success," says Willem Littel, senior manager, capital markets, at BNG. "How you adapt to these kinds of crises is not just now but the last 10 years is important we are broadening the investor base all the time, and not dependent on only one region. We have an extensive investor relations programme and we do it ourselves its not a separate department. I am pleased SSAs have performed quite well the confidence investors have in frequent borrowers that do their job consistently and reliably is very important and its good to see."
KfW won the award for Best Public Sector Issuer with an Issuance Programme of over Eu40bn, with Horst Seissinger winning the Best Funding Official prize for a Borrower with a Programme of over Eu40bn. It was also given the prize for Best Sterling Issuer.
"KfW, as a very large issuer, has an enormous responsibility to the market to ensure that its deals are successful," says Carl Norrey, the head of frequent borrower business at JP Morgan in London who was voted Best Public Sector Banker by borrowers. "Its deals help to set benchmarks which provide references for other issuers and offer transparency and liquidity to investors. Theyve demonstrated that across a range of currencies."
Meanwhile, the World Bank won the award for Most Impressive Public Sector Issuer in Dollars. "The World Bank has always been recognised by investors as the premier issuer," says Norrey. "It enjoys an enormous amount of respect in the market and its rarity value has afforded it the tightest prices.
"It is very impressive that it has been able to do larger funding this year and yet retain that premium to the name. The World Banks transactions are highly strategic for the market; they often re-open existing markets or open new ones. It is a pioneer of the capital markets."