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Outstanding Contribution to Securitization – Richard Hopkin

Dutch motorway near Lelystad with wind turbines and blooming rapeseed

Award recognises career of creative banking and staunch defence of the market at AFME

Richard Hopkin’s passion and enthusiasm for securitization are unrivalled. In a career spanning over 30 years he has, as one of his peers put it, put his heart and soul into the asset class. He is viewed by his peers as the premier advocate for the industry, a brother in arms and someone who refused to see rejection as the final destination.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Hopkin began his career as a solicitor for Clifford Chance in 1985 before jumping into investment banking in 1988, where he specialised in debt capital markets and structured finance.

For 19 years Hopkin progressed at various banks: Citibank, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and finally Société Générale.

While he was naturally successful in his various roles, they were good times. Securitization was a growing sector of the capital markets and there was plenty of money to be made. As Hopkin once told GlobalCapital, every junior banker wanted a piece of the action. That, of course, was until the global financial crisis rocked the financial ecosystem.

However, it was after the GFC that Hopkin’s blend of talents would become invaluable to the market.

In 2010, he joined industry body the Association for Financial Markets in Europe as head of the fixed income division. It was here, in the industry’s darkest moments, that he was able to shine his light of optimism and find a way through the mire.

After the dust settled, the regulatory retribution began in 2010. It fell to Richard and others to lead the charge to keep the European securitization market alive. Later in his tenure at AFME, from around 2016 to 2019, another wave of regulatory battles were fought and Hopkin was once again the role model and leader.

It was an arduous task: the regulations themselves were a huge body of work. Richard had an unenviable balancing act to perform: managing the wants of AFME’s members with regulators who were not always comfortable with the asset class and politicians who were always ready to throw an oar into proceedings.

It was here that his skills from his previous lives came to the fore.

Hopkin had the perfect tool-set needed to fly the flag for European securitization. A technical and legal understanding was necessary, alongside a diplomatic and resilient manner to push lawmakers towards an evidence-based approach, and Hopkin brought that in spades.

A proud Welshman, to many he had a quintessential English charm that allowed him to get through to legislators and yet not be disheartened when evidence and facts were disregarded time and again.

Many of the old guard decided they had seen the writing on the wall for European securitization and set off into the sunset. But Hopkin, alongside the likes of Steve Gandy, Ian Bell, Janet Oram, Rob Ford and Alexander Batchvarov, refused to accept defeat.

Hopkin was able to see the bright side. No matter how many spanners were thrown into the works, he took the knocks in his stride and searched relentlessly and enthusiastically for a solution.

Hopkin finally retired in December. Perhaps his legacy today is that the market in Europe still functions, in no small part due to his tireless advocacy.

There are many more battles ahead that will be led by the likes of his successor at AFME, Shaun Baddeley, but GlobalCapital can think of no more fitting tribute to Hopkin and his unending belief in securitization than to present him with the 2022 Outstanding Contribution to Securitization award.

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