European ABS Bank of the Year — Citi
One of the strongest results in Global Capital’s first post-crisis European securitization awards was Citi’s win in the ABS Bank of the Year category. The leading underwriter in the sector, according to Dealogic data, the US bank claimed nearly 45% of the vote to come in 7.5 percentage points ahead of its nearest rival, BNP Paribas.
Its standing in the sector was reinforced by a similar result (43%, nine percentage points ahead of second-placed Morgan Stanley) in the Secondary ABS Trading House of the Year category.
Moreover, Citi also claimed ABS Deal of the Year for Delamare 2018-1 for Tesco Personal Finance.
From investors and lawyers to issuers and even peers, Citi’s distinctive approach to ABS receives notable acclaim. The firm characterises its strategy as aiming to be “consistently the full service bank in the ABS space across all ABS asset classes”.
One clear theme within clients’ assessment of Citi is its market knowledge. “Their team are very knowledgeable and are very accessible for advice and insight on the ABS markets,” comments one specialist buyer. “Citigroup are a prolific bank in the ABS space and have been consistently active in the market for the past three years.”
“They are very thoughtful in terms of their approach to the market. They consider all types of credit risks, including start-ups and untraditional issuers, and develop relationships to broaden the market,” echoes a lawyer at a leading firm where “we do a lot with them”.
This includes both new issues and warehousing, including “interesting assets”. “One example would be defaulted bill buyers — not just NPLs. There could be 100 types of asset in the portfolio. Not a lot of houses would take that on.”
Issuers are notably warm about their experience with Citi. A French issuer highlights “their capacity to explore new ideas, and to understand the needs of their customers”, while another points to the bank’s “client-oriented and very talented staff” in ABS.
“It was the salesmanship of Citi’s syndicate that got our trade away — pushing the investor, us, the lawyers,” reports a third.
The bank’s award-winning Delamare 2018-1, which it co-arranged with BNP Paribas, underlines its strengths. The first issue into the US by a UK retail bank and the first tap of a UK master trust transaction, the ground-breaking Rule 144a deal was also notable for being launched in a challenging macro and political environment.
The landmark $75m tap helped bring the final size up to Tesco’s expectation despite the difficult market.