With doom and gloom characterizing U.S. and European markets, Barclays Capital has been a standout this year with its efforts in Asia. It made headlines when it completed the first onshore credit-default swap in China, a trade seen as a foundation for the creation of onshore collateralized loan obligations. Eric Slighton
, ex-managing director and head of Asia Pacific credit derivatives in Hong Kong, was behind the structuring of the deal.
Market participants named Deutsche Bank as the dominant player in the market with the best execution. "Deutsche Bank is consistent with providing liquidity," one investor said. The bank was among the most active traders of European CDO paper, executing at all levels of the capital structure even throughout the credit crunch. The firm also was active in global principal finance, where it structured and underwrote innovate 20-year financing for Paniolo Cable Company
; emerging markets, where it completed the biggest trade ever on Ukrainian Bank
and underwrote a five-year BRL150 million acquisition financing in Brazil's auto industry; and Asia Pacific, where its CLN business increased 200% year-on-year.
Lehman Brothers has bulked up in the space, for instance by hiring George Sun
last August as head of global product sales, ex-Japan, who is known as a big name in the market. "Lehman has moved toward a more client-driven business and away from the bespoke printing. It has adapted well to the tides of change in the structured credit space," one market participant said.
Merrill has grown its structured credit business over the volatile year. "They were just not there a year ago and today they are very much there," said one client.
Under the leadership of Manoo Halati
in North America and Cyrus Korat
in Europe, with structuring efforts led Mike Connor
, the correlation business has come into its own. The desk is receptive to buysider requests and also a provider of liquidity, said one hedge fund official. "As Merrill was forced to clean up their book they emerged a better client solution shop," reflected another hedge fund official in New York.
Merrill has also moved to number one in notional tranche volumes for the last quarter.
Morgan Stanley is another firm that received plaudits for its Asian structured prowess. Kevin Lepsoe, head of structuring for Asia, was singled out as an outstanding market participant and his team wrapped a string if private deals--many of which were principal-protected collateralized debt obligations. It also completed the first Korean won-linked collateralized debt obligation in early 2008.