| Richard Ho|
A perennial favorite in this market, the team headed by Richard Ho
again wins plaudits from observers. Over the past year, the firm has focused on providing structuring for distributors, insurance companies and provided mutual fund-linked notes in the U.S. retail market. It has also ramped up activity in emerging markets. Barclays lunched its Alpha-Supported Private Equity Note, or ASPEN, in 2007, the first-ever globally syndicated private equity fund-linked note transaction. This year, the firm has launched ASPEN Asia and ASPEN energy notes. It also introduced its Shariah-compliant hedge fund platform, Al-Safi.
Credit Suisse was an early entrant in the fund-linked market back in 1997 and has executed nearly USD40 billion in notional of fund-linked transactions since 1998. In the past year, Walter Rotondo
and his team have developed the first Basel II capital-efficient structures, provided innovative financing on portfolios of illiquid private equity and asset-based lending funds to some of the leading managers in the market, distributed Permal Group
's Silk Road Fund, launched the market's first risk appetite investable index, and launched the first UCIT complaint funds linked to hedge fund indices. One investor noted that Credit Suisse has a "good strong balance sheet."
Deutsche Bank's fund-linked team, led by Stephane Farouze, global head of fund derivatives, has been strong in structuring, hedge fund warrants, and equity-linked notes over the past year. Market participants pointed out that the bank has been active in the U.S. market when some were quiet and not issuing.
Lehman gets a nod for its financing efforts in the U.S. market. "They've come up with innovative ways to finance funds during the crisis while many others took a back seat or pulled out of the market altogether," said one market observer, speaking of the work done by the fund derivatives group who work under Lisa Roitman
Nomura has been busy in fund derivatives, winning attention and praise particularly in Europe. In London, the bank has been listing tax-efficient fund-linked products on the London Stock Exchange, publicly placed fund-linked notes in continental Europe and also some large over-the-counter deals. Additionally, market participants in the U.S. have recently pointed out how Nomura has been aggressive in the area of single manager-linked products.