Lifetime Achievement in Securitization Award — Ian Bell
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Lifetime Achievement in Securitization Award — Ian Bell

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Bell, a true market veteran, has played a pivotal role in the survival and development of the European securitization market

Ian Bell's career in the securitization industry spans five decades, across a variety of roles in law, ratings and verification, and he has contributed hugely to the development and survival of the European securitization market.

Bell began his career at law firm Clifford Chance in 1987, where he was made partner in 1996. He worked on a wide range of securitization transactions until 1999, when he moved over to rating agency S&P, first as European general counsel and eventually as head of European structured finance in 2005.

Then, the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis required collaboration in the industry. It was to be a test that would bring Bell's deep understanding of securitizations and complex regulations to the fore. This time, it was not just a question of impressive individual professional achievements, but the betterment of the entire market was at stake.

As EU regulators sought to ensure that nothing like 2008 could ever happen again, through much more stringent regulations across the entire capital markets, securitization was to be regulated particularly harshly — so much so that the market risked becoming unviable.

Aware that radical changes were on the way and that something needed to happen, various stakeholders from all corners of the European securitization industry came together to found Prime Collateralised Securities (PCS), where Bell took the helm as CEO.

The aim was to create an independent, but publicly available, label for high-quality securitization to make a gold standard for safe and sound securitizations and prove that the asset class could play a positive role in financial markets and the wider economy.

PCS's mission was to strengthen the securitization market as a sustainable investment and funding tool for both investors and originators, promote growth in the real economy, and improve market resilience by supporting standards of quality, transparency and simplicity.

These founding principles were subsequently recognised by EU regulators to essentially form the basis for what is now known as simple, transparent, and standardised (STS) securitizations — with PCS acting as an EU-authorised third-party verification agent of STS transactions.

Bell's unique career armed him with vast experience and knowledge of securitization, but — crucially — also allowed him to be viewed as an independent party. He built strong relationships with lawmakers, regulators and other stakeholders without being seen as a lobbyist acting only in the interest of market participants.

Those who have worked alongside him recall the countless occasions on which he was able to be the diplomat who bridged the gap between regulators and market participants.

It has been generally recognised by friend and foe that Ian Bell has played a pivotal role in the survival of the European securitization market after the global financial crisis and, notably, in the creation of a viable STS regulation. Despite the many continuning issues, that the securitization industry is still functioning in Europe in 2023 is down — in large part — to the efforts of Bell.

GlobalCapital is proud to announce Ian Bell as the winner of its 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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