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Covered Bond Awards 2021

GlobalCapital’s Covered Bond Awards 2021 recognise major achievements in the covered bond industry made over the past year and are based on a survey which almost 650 market participants responded to.

The survey attracted answers from all the most active lead managers, more than 70 active borrowers and over 100 investors, who were responsible for buying more than €70bn covered bonds in the past 12 months.

This year 19 awards were voted on covering the best deals, the finest issuers and the top lead managers. 2021 will be best remembered as the year in which ESG issuance took off and, in recognition of this development, two new awards were introduced for Best ESG Issuer and Best ESG Lead Manager.

Category winners

  • Some things in life, like tax returns for example, aren’t exactly glamorous, but they have to be done as the downsides of getting them wrong are just too great. So, it is with maintaining existing covered bond programmes, in particular transitioning them to the new risk free rate benchmarks and managing their liability structures. When the downsides are big, banks need to be able to turn to an adviser that they trust and, according to GlobalCapital’s survey of market participants, this year that bank, the Best Bank for ALM and Libor Transition Management, is NatWest Markets.
  • On the face of it, with low issuance and the ECB hoovering up bonds as fast as it can, you’d say that selling covered bonds this year hasn’t been that tricky. But selling covered bonds well is a different matter entirely. Tight valuations, a lack of benchmark issuance and negative yields all make sales difficult, but at the same time they all make the information that a good sales team can deliver more important to the whole covered bond value chain. And it is something that LBBW, GlobalCapital’s Best Bank for Distribution has focused on more than ever.
  • In a year which has seen the overall market shrink, the one sector to really buck that trend is the market for green and ESG covered bonds. So, naturally it has been a focus of attention for covered bond bankers everywhere and the competition to be best bank for ESG issuers was more intense than ever. In the face of stiff opposition, it is Crédit Agricole CIB that took the laurels, adding to their already very impressive credentials in the sector.
  • They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. In the covered bond market memories of that first deal, and how it establishes an issuer’s relative value and reputation for fair treatment of investors, can persist long after the deal matures.
  • To be voted the Best Bank for Covered Bond Research is an impressive achievement requiring a significant effort and investment of resources. But to repeatedly be voted the Best Bank – in nine of the last 11 years, as Crédit Agricole CIB has – requires more: not just effort and commitment but a willingness to adapt to the myriad changes in the market, and the way participants use research over the last 11 years.
  • The covered bond market, long established, standard, slow moving, boring even (but in a good way) isn’t exactly renowned for being the fastest of the financial markets to embrace change. So, when an issuer actually makes innovation work to better fund their business, and at the same time makes their investors happy that’s praiseworthy. And that is exactly what NN Bank, issuer of GlobalCapital’s Best Pioneering Deal of the Year, managed to do last June.
  • Warren Buffet famously joked that only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked. A year when the tide has been a long way out for the covered bond market – low funding needs, negative yields and poor liquidity – has been a true test of covered bond banks. LBBW’s long term commitment to the market, and yet willingness to innovate has been more important than ever and has made them GlobalCapital’s Covered Bond House of the Year.
  • The covered bond market has been a great place to be if you are an issuer in the last twelve months. But what of the investors? Nordea Investment Management (Nordea) has been able to navigate the negative interest rates, poor allocations and central bank led distortions, to generate strong returns and become GlobalCapital’s Covered Bond Investor of the Year.
  • Big isn’t necessarily the best. But when it comes to being a covered bond issuer, and a green bond issuer this year, it was certainly helpful. According to our poll of market participants, BPCE, one of the biggest issuers in the covered bond market was also one of the best, nominated in an incredible five categories and scooping the prestigious awards for both Issuer of the Year and Best Euro Deal of the Year.