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Secs on the beach: the Global ABS 2015 debrief

By GlobalCapital
18 Jun 2015

Catalunya is famed for being the most independently-minded of Spain’s regions, but separatism was the last thing on the minds of Global ABS delegates this year. Securitization is becoming part of Europe once again, and GlobalCapital — reporting from our very own Special Purpose Vehicle — has all the gossip from the conference’s most positive outing in recent memory.

After years of promising a revival in European securitization, the talking heads of this week’s joint IMN and AFME event might finally be onto something, as regulators finally take concrete steps to promote the product. The marketing for new transactions this week was almost as intense as everyone’s hangovers on Thursday morning.

Collaring the market

Increased dealflow benefits everybody, and this year there were signs once again of the jostling market that Europe used to be and maybe could be again.

One trustee MD at BNY Mellon was quick to scoff at GC’s observation that competition in the trust company space was becoming increasingly fierce, but his colleagues were even quicker to offer delegates the chance to swap their US Bank-branded lanyards for ones printed with its own logo.

Zenith Trust Company took it to the next level, though. Well-placed sources confirm that on Tuesday evening, the firm took around 40 capital markets pros — in full kit — to none other than FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou for a casual kickabout. We’re not sure how much that costs, but it’s probably a number just shy of the outstanding volume of ABS paper in the entire European market.

Read all about it

This increased competition affects the press, too. For example, when a reporter from a well-known financial broadsheet asked three of the GC team — an hour away from the deadline for Thursday’s daily edition — if they had a recording of Fernando González’s keynote speech, we had to respectfully decline.

The journalist in question could have just read GC’s report online. Indeed, the increased press presence this year meant that a surprising amount of content from the conference made its way onto the web within minutes of the words leaving panellists’ mouths. Sometimes it was even quicker than that — a special mention must go to BNY Mellon’s PR team, who managed to provide reporters with embargoed quotes from two panels before they actually happened.

Some conference attendees clearly hadn’t read the memo on punctuality, however. There were a lot of parties to pack in, particularly on Wednesday night, but even so, GC was impressed to hear that one tequila-kissed ABS originator pitched up to Allen & Overy’s bash at 3am (a fairly liberal interpretation of ‘it closes around midnight’).

As usual, Citi provided the most enduring festivities of the night, right on the beachfront. There was a deep secondary market bid for wristbands, with offers being lifted as soon as they were shown. Some attendees eschewed the formal process of entry, choosing instead to break in by climbing over the club’s outer wall (admittedly not a very high one) instead. A few of them chose to exit that way too — one trustee boss managed to fall backwards onto a member of GlobalCapital’s editorial team doing so. He must have misunderstood our definition of “supporting the market”.

Speaking of which, we at GC were, as ever, delighted to provide delegates with their news during the conference. Our camper van got a lot of attention, in addition to serving as our daily newspaper HQ. Next year we’d like to provide more incisive features, including conference rankings. Potential categories include:

  • —   Worst chinos  
  • —   Most enduring branded gimmick
  • —   Most aggressively casual outfit
  • —   Best party entertainment*
  • —   Most impressive late entrance to a panel**

* Competition this year included Rabobank’s flamenco dancers, massages at one organisation’s dinner (administered while the attendees ate) and A&O’s consistently top-notch cheese counter.

** This year’s winner, from Thursday morning, will be very hard to beat. We’re told he’s now recovering from both his hangover and his head injury. It definitely wasn’t Bob Paterson, though — he was dead sober for the entire conference, he told GlobalCapital while sipping Colin Parkhill’s beer.

Full Global ABS daily coverage here.

By GlobalCapital
18 Jun 2015