GlobalCapital: a clear voice for fast-changing markets
A warm welcome to this publication that marks 30 years of GlobalCapital, or EuroWeek, as it was called until 2014.
We were born in May 1987, a time of terrible hair and iffy music. Number one in the UK charts was ‘Nothing’s gonna stop us now’ by Starship.
Some 1,500 weeks later, following meltdowns and recessions, scandals and crashes, and the most lethal of them all, management restructurings, nothing did stop us.
Through shaky early years when the contributions of the pioneering bond journalist Jo Richards, gifted editor Nick Evans and indefatigable publisher Dennis Millard were crucial, EuroWeek defied commercial near-death experiences and even a fire.
The merciless gossip columnist Ian Kerr wrote for us for 14 years until his death in 2008 — and we are fortunate to have enjoyed the rare talent of cartoonist Olly Copplestone for getting on for 30 years.
EuroWeek built a name for itself as a trusted source of news that was deeply embedded in markets, so that it really understood what drove transactions and motivated the organisations that managed them. But at the same time it remained independent of influence, and critical where need be — an ideal we now encapsulate in the slogan ‘The voice of the markets’.
The paper’s original name has gone, though — like so many others in the markets: Salomon Brothers, PaineWebber, Manufacturers Hanover, Chemical Bank, SG Warburg, Swiss Bank Corp, Kidder Peabody, Yamaichi Securities, Barings, James Capel, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers…
That random selection of firms that were once inseparable from the market testifies to the variety and mutability of the capital markets business. As we have tried to show in the pages that follow — including the timelines covering every year since 1987 — the pace of change in markets is dizzying. So is the constant process of creating new market players, while old ones are absorbed by others, or occasionally go spectacularly bust.
In GlobalCapital’s case, the name EuroWeek was intended to show that it covered the Euromarkets — like its parent magazine Euromoney, founded in 1969 — but that it would be a weekly newspaper, bringing hard-hitting news to the markets every Friday.
In recent years the internet has enabled news to be published right through every day, not just once a week. Meanwhile, the concept of the Euromarkets, which once meant all international markets outside the US, has faded from public awareness. Regional markets have coalesced into one global capital market — hence, GlobalCapital.
Technology and globalisation
These changes — technology and globalisation — are two of the most powerful that have reshaped the capital markets in the past 30 years. Bond and share issues that used to take days or weeks and require syndicates of dozens of banks can now be done by two or three in hours. Issuers can feel the thrill of watching their books build on an iPad from a meeting room in their office, whether it’s in Leverküsen or Lima.
Electronic trading — in some markets, at speeds counted in nanoseconds — has put swathes of human traders out of business, and may keep doing so. It has also brought alarming new problems, with flash crashes and hacking.
Meanwhile, capital markets are more international than ever. Governments, companies and banks trot the globe in search of new investors, while investors are ever happier to seek diversification and fresh yield outside their home patches.
There are threats to this, such as President Donald Trump’s protectionist urges and the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. But it is hard to believe these can stem the tide of technological and social change bringing the world together — and bringing finance to where it is most needed.
Because these and many other trends — the changing structure and role of banks, the ebb and flow between private and public capital markets — are reshaping markets so dynamically, we have decided in this report to focus on the present and future, rather than the past.
The articles that follow, including coverage of 30 of what we believe are core products, cover all the major capital markets, trying to show what is gripping the attention of participants in those markets today — and some of the issues they are likely to face in the months and years to come.
What we are convinced will not change is the need for scrupulous, accurate journalism, that enables participants in the capital markets to tell the truth to each other — to highlight good performance and root out bad.
This will depend in future, as now and in the past, on a constant flow of conversation between our journalists and the bankers, investors and issuers who share their thoughts and opinions with us.
We hope you enjoy this publication and look forward to working with you in years to come.
Corporate finance editor