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GlobalCapital Bond Awards 2022: Most Impressive SSA Coverage Team — Barclays

The UK bank also won Most Impressive Corporate Bond House in Sterling, and Most Impressive Bank for Corporate Swaps and Other Derivatives.

Experience, insight and a breadth of expertise helped Barclays secure no fewer than three awards this year.

The market recognised its consistent success in the SSA market, while its strength in sterling brought home awards for corporate bonds, swaps and other derivatives.

The last year has seen the market backdrop switch from record stimulus to soaring inflation and rate hikes. New threats to political and economic stability have emerged.

In such an environment, experience is a huge asset and one that Barclays has across sectors and asset classes. But the SSA space in particular has always been a core focus, said Lee Cumbes, the bank’s head of DCM for EMEA. “These are borrowers with some of the highest standards, and it’s always been a market where we wanted to be successful,” he said, adding that the SSA business makes up as much as 50% of Barclays’ capital markets volumes.

Recent standout sovereign deals include Italy’s €7bn 30-year note in January, which set the tone for issuance against an anticipated decline in QE, and Austria’s debut green bond in May.

This is a group that has dealt with crises and isn’t intimidated by the risk. That knowledge of how to execute in different markets has really helped us - particularly over the last six months.
Lee Cumbes
Lee Cumbes

Barclays dominance in the green bond space has seen it lead nine of the last 10 debut sovereign green bonds, which includes the UK’s record breaking £100bn order book for its £10bn deal in September 2021.

“That’s a growing part of the market and we’ve been right in the middle, leading €53bn of

sovereign green bonds in the last five years,” Cumbes said.

This long focus on the SSA market means Barclays DCM and syndicate teams boast decades of experience against difficult backdrops. “This is a group that has dealt with crises and isn’t intimidated by the risk,” said Cumbes. “That knowledge of how to execute in different markets has really helped us - particularly over the last six months.”

In the corporate bond market, Barclays won for its performance on sterling deals, but notably it also came second in the euro and overall corporate categories.

“That shows that we’re doing a lot of things right in how we’re talking to corporate clients,” said Matt Thomas, head of corporate DCM for EMEA. “The intensity, the consistency and the quality of advice from our various teams and product specialists.”

The bank worked on several stellar sterling deals. A £1bn multi-tranche deal for Nestlé that “demonstrated the sterling market’s real depth,” said Thomas. A debut green hybrid for Vattenfall in mid-2021 was a fine illustration of ESG as a driver in the sterling space.

“We really had a fantastic year for corporate sterling,” said Cumbes.

Barclays also has a thriving social housing business, which is both a differentiator and a significant source of supply.

“We’re involved in around 70% of all issuance in that sector, which has also been a real driver of ESG,” said Thomas. “We’re fortunate to have a fantastic trading and sales operation. So, we’re able to take reverse enquiry direct from investors to our housing association borrowers.”

Barclays’ strong credentials as the number one ranked bookrunner in the housing association market have earned it lead manager status on a series of inaugural ESG transactions.

This includes names like Notting Hill Genesis and Anchor Hanover, in addition to the first SLB out of the sector, a £300m 10-year for L&Q in Q1 2022.

Sterling supply has also come from a long list of clients for whom the firm acts as key relationship manager, cash manager or transactional bank.

“As those borrowers grow we’re able to offer private placements, ratings advisory and the obvious access to the sterling market”, Thomas said. “We’ve had some great examples of these debut issues.”

This includes Associated British Foods’s blowout £400m 12-year print in January, which attracted almost £2bn in orders.

The third award, for corporate swaps and derivatives, is very much tied to Barclays stellar performance in the corporate bond arena. The firm has consistently run an interconnected operation where there are representatives from risk management and DCM on every client team.

“We’ve had a great deal of success in swap coordination roles, particularly with corporates focussing on executing derivatives around new issues,” said Thomas. “Big sophisticated issuers want the best advice on both sides, and the derivative award reflects the value of our integrated approach to risk management across our capital markets business.”