It is just one of the changes we have all had to get used to over the past six months — working remotely, often under difficult conditions; meeting by video; pitching, pricing and trading bonds without the physical infrastructure and personal touch that offices bring.
But the primary debt capital markets’ response to the coronavirus crisis has been resilient and robust. Institutions all over the world — from governments and multilateral development banks, to domestic lenders, to companies — have raised vital financing to see them through this extraordinary period.
Central banks’ inflated quantitative easing programmes and relaxed capital regulations have helped them, while governments have created vast support programmes. But the capital markets have answered the call for urgent help, facilitating fiscal spending and enabling QE programmes to keep the global economy from unthinkable consequences.
Many of you will know that we usually hold our Bond Awards in May every year, following a market poll that takes place in the first quarter. This year, we opened the poll in February as usual, but because of the coronavirus we decided to delay things. It would been wrong to have the awards period culminate in March, just as a rare level of stress and huge uncertainty in capital markets was starting to peak.
We therefore relaunched them to cover an extended period: March 2019 to June 2020. We invited the market to consider their peers’ performance over that whole duration. We also added a small number of awards to cover the extraordinary work brought about by the coronavirus, such as Best Bank for Funding Advice and Support During Covid-19 Pandemic.
Apart from the additional categories, the relaunched poll was the same as the original one. Whether by luck or judgement, this was the right thing to do. By extending the voting period to the end of June, we captured the second quarter — a period of extraordinary turbulence and high volumes of issuance that will surely be seen as the salient part of the year — adding to the credibility and importance of this year’s awards.
GlobalCapital’s Bond Awards are unique. They are the only awards that recognise achievement in all the main segments of the international bond markets through a poll of market participants. They truly reflect the opinion of the market.
The awards thus perform a valuable function, enabling the market to reflect on what worked and what did not in the past year, celebrating the most impressive performers.
The basis of the poll is that issuers vote for the best investment banks, while banks vote for issuers. Other market participants such as investors, law firms and rating agencies can also vote for and receive awards.
The awards cover supranational, sovereign and agency; financial institution; investment grade corporate and emerging market bonds.
The principles of the poll are that people cannot not vote for themselves or their own institutions (except in the Most Valuable Player Awards). People vote on firms that they interact with, not their own competitors (except in the Most Valuable Player Awards and the Emerging Market Bank Awards, where banks are invited to vote for each other). There is one vote per institution in each category. There is to be no collusion or favours.