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People and MarketsCommentP&M Notebook

The bank with no earnings call

Private Concept. Folders in Catalog.

Can a top 20 EMEA debt capital markets firm build up its presence while flying under the radar?

Out of the top 15 bookrunners of EMEA debt capital markets for the year to date, 14 have either already reported third quarter earnings or are preparing to do so in the coming weeks. The 15th bank in the list will not.

That is because, since March, Natixis has been 100% owned by Groupe BPCE, a private bank holding company with a co-operative ownership structure.

This may allow Natixis to fly under the radar as it builds out its corporate and investment banking business in areas such as FIG DCM, credit trading and derivatives, using the large balance sheet of its new parent company.

But the firm's co-head of corporate and investment banking, Mohamed Kallala, has given GlobalCapital editor Ralph Sinclair a peek under the bonnet. Subscribers can check out his in depth interview here.

Meanwhile, a bank very much in the spotlight in the past week was Barclays. Its earnings release revealed what could easily have been predicted — another bumper fee haul from the huge flow of M&A over the past year.

However, the record quarters reported so far by the US banks and Barclays do raise interesting questions. To begin with, since they have pretty much all claimed to have increased their market shares, where have they taken it from?

“In this industry, like in many others, the pandemic has revealed trends and underlying strengths and weaknesses,” said a senior leveraged finance banker in London on Wednesday.

Is this the peak?

And secondly, is this rate of activity sustainable? Bankers told GlobalCapital this week they thought 2022 would be a strong year for investment banking and capital markets, but maybe not quite on a par with 2021. Have we hit peak merger? Will inflation worries and tapering finally slow things down? Will Donald Trump's blank cheque company be the last nail in the coffin for the lucrative stream of special purpose acquisition company (Spac) fees?

Daniel Polsky, the new co-head of equity capital markets syndicate at independent investment bank William Blair, will presumably be hoping not.

He worked on Lucid Motors' merger with a Spac called Churchill Capital Corp IV in his previous role as a managing director at Bank of America. His new firm, William Blair, brought in two Spac experts, Bryan Finkel and Eric Roddy, from Nomura in February, and has since worked on Spac mergers for machine learning company and software provider ServiceMax.

More moves

Sticking with ECM, GlobalCapital also reported exclusively on Thursday on a reshuffle at Société Générale in Paris, where Emilie Jadat O'Shea is leaving her role as head of equity syndicate to cover French corporate clients in a senior investment banking role.

Jose-Antonio Gagliardi is slipping back into the head of syndicate role, which he had vacated two years ago to become head of equity-linked origination. Estelle Picandet will take over running equity-linked.

In London, James Seagrave, who was brought in at BNP Paribas in 2016 to oversee global financial sponsor coverage, is leaving in November, destination unknown. Having worked in banking since 1989, including at JP Morgan and Jefferies, he may have earned retirement, but there are rumours he may be heading to a credit fund. Watch this space.

Taking over from Seagrave at BNPP is Bernard Valet, who has been promoted from within to head of financial sponsor coverage in EMEA. The title does not quite match Seagrave's, as Valet will be a regional rather than global head, and he will be based in Paris instead of London. A spokesperson for the bank declined to be drawn on what this meant for financial sponsor coverage in the other regions. Valet reports to global head of FIG Sandrine Ferdane.