The U.K. house attracted attention this year for various new launches globally and for its iPath exchange-traded notes in the U.S. Barclays structured a range of retail and high-net-worth investments linked to dividends, correlation or volatility, such as its Voltaire strategy. The trading force was also recognised for its flow and structured trading as well as for its dividend swap capabilities. The firm won praise from investors for its customer service, issuance, and its involvement with the U.S. Structured Product Association
. One industry law firm cited Barclays' pricing "for pure brawn", and a competitor asserted that the firm's cliquet and insurance product business sets it apart from others.
The German bank has moved up the ranks in index-linked exotics trading, partly as a result of the addition of Remy Ripoll
in London, where he heads up the trading unit. Both investors and competitors lauded the hiring of Ripoll from Goldman Sachs
. Deutsche Bank also won accolades for being prolific in the variance swaps market and for customer service. Early on in the year, Deutsche Bank gained a foothold in U.S. structured products distribution through its DWS Scudder
fund platform and finalized its shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission
, enabling the firm to more quickly come to market with structured notes.
The New York-based firm was cited by investors for offering the best pricing and best terms on the Street--particularly when it comes to leverage and protection on index-linked notes and contingent notes. JPMorgan also got kudos for variance swaps and options pricing. After losing staff last year, the firm's U.S. business was strengthened when it moved managing director David Long
from Hong Kong to New York to oversee flow, convertibles, equity exotics, hybrids and equity structured investments, and Daniel McNeill
, a senior official in its equity exotics and hybrids group in London, to head the same group in New York. JPMorgan has also made a handful of senior hires in Europe and Asia to support its growth in these regions.
Lehman's structured investment business under Axel Kilian
in London and Adam Green
in New York won praise this year for its innovation, particularly for structures such as twin-win notes with upside if an index or basket goes either up or down. The firm also stood out for being the first to adopt the Structured Product Association
's industry-standard terms for defining different structured investments. Investors also said the New York firm was a leader in options pricing and options on variance, as well as for its distribution.
The U.S. bank's equity group, under North American head of equity derivatives Kevin Woodruff in New York and European sales head Nick Tranter in London, has come out with some cross-asset-class structured notes and strategic indices this year that were popular with investors globally. Distributors noted the firm's ability to quickly turn around structures that captured this year's market trends, such as its combined commodity and equity notes and a Standard & Poor's 500 note playing a seasonal exposure strategy. Hedge fund clients were also loud in their praise of Morgan Stanley's tight pricing and good service, particularly for Asia ex-Japan.