The value of a well-timed tantrum
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The value of a well-timed tantrum

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The worst nightmare for bankers is an absurdly demanding client. But throw in a teenage tantrum and things go from bad to worse.

I recently stumbled on a familiar face from the bond world who told me a harrowing story about one Chinese company. The owner of this firm, excited to see his debut bond issue up close, came on to the trading floor to watch his syndicate bankers execute the deal. He did not like what he saw.

The $300m order book did not come close to covering his target deal size of $500m. His bankers, quite rightly, told him that he needed to adjust his expectations. Instead, he adjusted his location – leaving the building and ignoring phone calls, emails, and all manner of attempts to reach him.

My friend and his team all sat there, stunned, not knowing whether to proceed with the deal or call it off. Six anxious hours passed before the borrower finally walked through the door as if nothing had happened.

He had clearly reflected and told his bankers he was willing to adjust: $350m would do. Of course, that was still $50m over what was available but what exactly were his bankers supposed to do? 

They didn’t want to lose the client, and having quite literally lost him for the last few hours, they decided to take the extra $50m on their own books.

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