Review of the Year 2019 and Outlook 2020

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  • Between heaven and hell: capital markets get 2020 vision

    Equities are at record highs, rates at record lows; the US is quarrelling, China is slowing. As 2020 begins, participants are divided on which way markets will move. Toby Fildes picks 10 themes

  • The GlobalCapital debt capital markets survey: banks expect to make money and hire

    Markets go into 2020 fretting about a global recession and an escalation of tradetensions between the US and China, according to 25 heads of debt capital markets in the EMEA market, in Toby Fildes’ annual outlook survey. Respondents are mildly pessimistic on spreads and fees in the primary markets as well. But on the plus side, bankers are feeling hopeful about sustainability-themed bonds and almost unanimously believe issuance will top $270bn.

  • As US banks’ shadow lengthens, Europeans plan their fight back

    Each year brings another retreat for European investment banks, as their seemingly invincible US competitors edge further into the European market. While the Europeans are far from capitulating, the pressure is relentless. As Jasper Cox reports, they are trying to redefine success by concentrating on the markets and segments where they are strongest

  • The benchmark is dead: long live the benchmark

    The transition from one set of interest rate benchmarks to another is conceptually simple. But it is also unprecedented and has deeper consequences than many realised when Libor’s abolition was announced in 2017. With contracts worth hundreds of trillions of dollars referencing the disgraced benchmark, even small errors will have vast repercussions. PPI mis-selling? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Richard Kemmish reports

  • Brexit will run on and on, as EU cities specialise

    After leaving the EU, the UK will face continuous and infinite choices over how aligned to remain for financial services. Meanwhile, London looks set to continue to leak activity to EU hubs, several of which are developing their own specialisms

  • Masters of the universe — central banks’ grip on markets tightens

    Since the global financial crisis, central banks have accumulated powers over regulation and supervision of markets as well as over monetary policy. In 2019 politicians began to erode that with interventions that have raised questions over who should control markets. By Phil Thornton

  • Capital markets tech reaches tipping point

    As it spawns innovations everywhere from new issues to collateral management, is blockchain the technological key to digitising capital markets? And if it is, will that be through public versions such as Ethereum or private confidential networks? Or is this focus on distributed ledgers missing the point and the real need just to automate antiquated manual and bilateral processes? Julian Lewis reports

  • Proliferating MDBs find politics a developing challenge

    We have more multilateral development banks than ever before. They perform an invaluable job in a challenging and ever-changing world, but as they expand, and as new MDBs emerge, a fear is growing that they are being used as political tools by sovereign shareholders, keen to promote their own interests around the world. By Elliot Wilson

  • The hottest thing in capital markets

    The must-have new business line in capital markets is raising capital for companies that might be nowhere near coming to market. Tech companies stepping outside the private markets have stumbled this year, but banks still hope to take a slice of a fast-growing pie

  • Still waiting for the green leap forward

    Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal helped pull the US out of the Great Depression. Climate change is a bigger crisis and requires a similarly total response. But is the European Commission being ambitious enough? And will politicians, business and society accept the changes required? Jon Hay reports

  • 2019 bond deals of the year: public sector borrowers

    2019 proved more fruitful for supranational, sovereign and agency borrowers than was expected in 2018 — in part thanks to a rejuvenation of the ECB’s asset purchase programme and a wholesale return to dovish monetary policies. GlobalCapital’s SSA team used its editorial judgment, with inspiration from GC’s world famous bond comments, to pick the top trades of the year. We strove to find deals that were not just the biggest, but that set pricing markers, were innovative and brave, or made an impression in other ways. GC presents the winners here. Congratulations to the issuers and banks involved.

  • Climate and digitisation to dominate SSAs’ 2020

    An unusual note of optimism defines the attitude of Europe’s public sector issuers as they approach 2020. While many other markets are beset by fears of a slowdown in global growth, trade wars, and Brexit, SSA borrowers are confident in their borrowing strategies and loyal investor bases. Despite a change of face in the ECB’s top job, rates are still set to remain low for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, investors are having to grit their teeth to stomach the scanty yields on offer for euro SSA assets. Although SSAs are offering little in the way of yield, their place as pioneers of the evolving SRI market always ensures lively debate. In this roundtable, held in early November, market participants on both the buyside and the sell side favoured a more holistic assessment of issuers’ ESG profiles, rather than relying on labelled assets, but whether or not the ECB should take a role in promoting the SRI market through “green QE” divided the group.

  • Can Sofr and €STR catch up to Sonia?

    In 2019, public sector borrowers led the way in the implementation of the new risk-free rates, with Sonia becoming a mainstream product. The question is whether Sofr and €STR can become as widely adopted as financial markets prepare for the end of Libor. Burhan Khadbai reports

  • SSAs to spur digital evolution of bond market

    After years with little in the way of technological improvements, momentum is finally building behind several projects that could reshape primary capital markets. These systems will undergo their first tests in the SSA market. Intriguingly, the winner could come from either the public or private sectors. Burhan Khadbai reports

  • Dollars lose dominance for SSA borrowers

    The mighty dollar has lost its position as the default borrowing currency of the SSA market, and with a presidential election in 2020, that is unlikely to be reversed next year. However, that doesn’t mean that SSA borrowers can ignore it. Lewis McLellan reports

  • SSAs forced to get comfortable with negative rates

    With the resumption of the ECB’s quantitative easing programme, any hopes of a normalisation of European monetary policy receded further into the distance. With “lower for longer” firmly established as the consensus call, SSA borrowers and investors will have to settle in and learn to love the world they inhabit

  • New supras poised to make a big splash

    A trio of recently launched supranational borrowers will be a frequent presence in 2020, as they look to cement their positions among the top names in the public sector bond market. Burhan Khadbai reports

  • Sterling SRI bond market roars into life

    Sterling is set to take a bigger slice of the socially responsible bond market as a result of a number of initiatives, including reforms that are putting the pressure on UK pension funds to focus on environmental, social or governance (ESG) factors in their investments. Burhan Khadbai reports

  • What does not kill Swiss franc bonds makes them stronger

    The Swiss franc bond market has been able to withstand — just — the destructive forces of negative rates and yields and is looking forward to a new year in which green structures are set to blossom. Philip Moore reports

  • Niche currencies offer alluring alternative for SSAs

    For public sector issuers, niche currency deals have offered attractive opportunities for arbitrage funding, with spreads into euros and dollars spurring on demand this year. Meanwhile, strong investor appetite for green paper has seen niche shoots blossom throughout 2019. Frank Jackman reports

  • Dealers turn to specialisation as MTN volumes slide

    Specialisation could define MTNs in 2020 as the market looks to differentiate itself from public markets where borrowers are easily executing large, cheap, liquid benchmarks. MTN dealers’ change of focus is shaking up the league tables. Frank Jackman reports

  • 2019 bond deals of the year: financial institutions

    Reflecting on 2019, market participants may be surprised to see how things panned out. They went into the year expecting to ride out the end of QE and instead got a new purchase programme, funding scheme and rate cuts from the European Central Bank. This backdrop has given banks and insurers another good opportunity to move towards meeting their regulatory debt requirements, while testing new lows for their costs of funding and capital. GlobalCapital wanted to reward the deals that achieved stand-out results for issuers, in terms of pricing, execution and timing. The winners are presented here.

  • Banks in 2020: a new world order

    GlobalCapital has put together a series of charts looking at the financial institutions bond market in 2019 and beyond.

  • Riveting year ahead for covered bonds in QE-warped market

    Covered bonds performed well in 2019, but yields finished in negative territory and spreads ended at their tightest for the year. The implication is that, despite higher than expected ECB covered bond purchases and a renewal of its ultra-cheap TLTRO facility, investors will struggle to match 2019’s returns in 2020, writes Bill Thornhill.

  • Covered bonds grapple with QE-distorted world

    Navigating the covered bond market will not be without its challenges in 2020. The Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operation (TLTRO), European Central Bank deposit tiering and the Covered Bond Purchase Programme have collectively distorted the market, but added to this concoction is the impact of negative interest rates. Against this backdrop issuers, investors and investment bankers gathered in Munich in November to discuss the outlook for covered bonds. It is likely that new issue premiums will gradually tighten, but the path is unlikely to be smooth. January is typically the busiest month, but in 2019, issuers that funded this early paid the highest spreads. And, with the ECB expected to buy in the region of €4.5bn covered bonds a month, issuers will not feel compelled to move early. But the ECB monetary policy has unwelcome implications. Covered bonds have begun to lose value against government bonds, and this will extend if the ECB is unable to loosen restrictions on government bond purchases.

  • Banks contemplate multiple futures ahead of MREL swell

    European banks are about as close as they can be to having clarity on their minimum requirements for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL). Now it’s up to them to figure out what impact the new bond standard will have on their funding plans, annual profits and business models. Tyler Davies reports

  • AT1 market peaks as yields verge on record lows

    European banks no longer really have to think about building up layers of additional tier one debt. All of the focus has shifted to managing and refreshing this capital layer, and taking full advantage of a ferocious hunt for yield. Tyler Davies reports

  • Green capital: a new frontier for banks

    Banks and insurance companies are finally straining to turn capital markets greener. With many having realised there are savings to be had in issuing green senior bonds, the idea of them embracing sustainable capital instruments seems to be just around the corner. David Freitas reports

  • US, European CLO markets take downturn fears in their stride

    The CLO is one of the more transatlantic sectors in securitization, and has grown more so in the past year as US managers make new inroads in Europe. However, both markets grapple with unique issues. In the US, a rocky corporate credit landscape has put the fear of widespread downgrades front and centre, while in Europe, the space is getting crowded and competition for collateral and persistent negative rates weigh on the sector. Both markets in 2020 are headed for an inflection point. Max Adams and Tom Brown report

  • Asset managers muscle into financial sponsors’ territory

    Where securitization was once a prime hunting ground for financial sponsors and hedge funds, some of the largest asset management houses are now setting up units to beat the top predators of the capital markets at their own game, taking the other side of the securitization arbitrage

  • RMBS revs up as reforms loom

    While the outlook for a long-awaited reform of mortgage finance and the government-sponsored enterprises is uncertain in an election year, non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) are clawing their way back into US capital markets

  • STS: the long and winding road

    Meant to bring about a new era for European securitization a decade after the financial crisis, the ‘simple, transparent and standardised’ framework actually stifled issuance in the first quarter of 2019. But a year on, STS is on its way to delivering what it had promised. Tom Brown reports

  • Esoteric ABS boom fuelled by move beyond fast food

    Esoteric ABS is not quite so esoteric in the era of low interest rates. With anaemic yields and low economic growth expected to continue, more investors have turned to the asset class over the past few years, and issuers are locking in the lower cost of capital while it lasts

  • Investors seek ABS protection against turning macro cycle

    As the late stages of the economic cycle drag on and uncertainty around the next recession grows, investors are turning to securitization as a shield against headwinds from other parts of the market, loading up on ABS to insulate portfolios from gyrations in corporate credit

  • Corporate bond deals of the year

    It was a year when the corporate bond market first had to get used to a world without QE — and then digest its return. Spreads tightened sharply after the summer following the ECB’s decision to restart its Corporate Sector Purchase Programme. But that did not mean all the best deals came after September. Far from it.

  • Innovations shake green bond market out of its comfort zone

    For several years, the green bond market has spread geographically, attracted new kinds of issuer and new assets — but structurally, it has remained stable. Now that is changing. The urgency of climate change has made swathes of the economy realise they must go green. New products — transition bonds and sustainability-linked bonds — have been devised to help. But as Jon Hay reports, they will not be easy for the market to digest

  • ECB set to become long term fixture in corporate bonds

    The European Central Bank opened its wallet again at the end of 2019 and started buying corporate bonds, but its largesse is a shadow of what it was. With inflation still a long way below target, it is expected to ramp up its buying in 2020

  • The 17th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards nominations

    In November, GlobalCapital polled loan market participants for its 17th Syndicated Loan and Leveraged Finance Awards. The nominations are listed below, in alphabetical order. We will reveal the winners at the Awards Dinner, to be held on February 12, 2020, in London. For details on attending the event, please contact Daniel Elton at or by calling +44 20 7779 7305

  • Libor transition adds to loan market’s relentless struggles

    Battling against falling volume, the loan market also has to work out how to replace Libor. Loan market life will surely get more stressful as the clock ticks down to December 2021, when the rate is due to be phased out, although distractions might come in the form of sustainability-linked structures, writes Mariam Meskin

  • US PP market flourishes in UK as investors eye councils

    A rich variety of UK borrowers including a football club, two airports, the City and a clutch of FTSE 250 firms turned to US private placements in 2019. UK local authorities remained absent, but a surprise from the UK Treasury in October may be a game-changer

  • Schuldscheine in rude health as market breaks new ground

    The Schuldschein market is touching records for overall volume and number of deals in 2019, and in any normal year that would be what excites the market most. But instead, most pride comes from the progress made in Asia as well as innovations in sustainable financing

  • Mega-funds muscle into European leveraged market

    After assembling mega-funds that can commit loans of €1bn and more, direct lenders are gaining ground in leveraged finance at notable speed. Besides size, firms such as Alcentra, Ares, BlueBay and ICG offer borrowers privacy, speed, fixed terms and long-term commitment. But are they all equipped for the torrent of distressed situations the next downturn is likely to bring?

  • Germany disappoints levfin market as volumes slump

    Volumes in European leveraged finance took a dive in 2019, leaving leveraged credit investors struggling to find value. A string of take-private attempts, especially in Germany, had lenders and banker salivating, but fell apart before coming to market

  • Sponsors try to tame net short activists with covenant magic

    Lawyers in the US have had a busy 2019 drawing up tough documentation to protect borrowers and sponsors from CDS investors — net short activists — trying to get their say on the future of a company. With these provisions spreading to Europe, 2020 could be an even busier year

  • Demergers and direct listings in focus as alternative to difficult IPOs

    The European IPO market ended 2019 in soul-searching mood, following a tremendously problematic year. Issuers may look for alternatives should market conditions persist through to 2020

  • Prospects grow for a brighter year for Russian ECM

    Russian issuance has been a success story in what has otherwise been a largely disappointing year for the EMEA equity capital markets. Positive momentum should carry through into 2020 with hope that IPOs will follow a good year for blocks and beef up the Russian stock market

  • Investors get behind primary capital raising technique

    Europe’s equity capital markets bankers are looking at 2020 with an eye on jumbo equity capital raisings to fund merger and acquisition activity, building on the momentum behind such trades in 2019

  • Convertibles start rolling again as share prices soar

    Europe’s convertible bond market enjoyed a modest recovery in 2019, even though interest rates stayed low, reducing the market’s appeal as a cheap funding source. Going into 2020, there is cautious optimism that the revival will continue, helped by issuers monetising stakes in other companies. As Aidan Gregory reports, the asset class should attract investors worried about an economic downturn

  • 2019 bond deals of the year: emerging markets

    After the Federal Reserve’s hawkish attitude in 2018, a more dovish mood at the US central bank meant that 2019 was smooth sailing for many emerging market borrowers. However, political storms meant the turbulent asset class still threw up its share of rocks for borrowers to navigate. The GlobalCapital editorial team selected the best deals of the year, considering not just the eventual result of the trade, but the backdrop against which the deals were sold. The winners are presented here. Congratulations to those involved.

  • Russian borrowers march on as fear of sanctions fades

    Five years after the US and EU slapped sanctions on Russia following its invasion of the Crimean peninsula, the country’s capital markets are doing far better than many expected. Mariam Meskin reports

  • Ukraine moves past political troubles to enjoy record run

    Ukraine’s political establishment was shaken up and, in large part, replaced by newcomers early in 2019. The lead up to the election was fraught, as investors’ fear of the unknown drove up Ukrainian rates. But President Zelensky swiftly won over the international community, setting up a superb run of borrowing.

  • Turkey on a knife edge

    Turkey’s position economically, and from a capital markets standpoint, is better at the end of 2019 than it was a year ago. However, that is not to say all is well with the country — far from it. Prospects for 2020 are, at best, mixed with growing concerns over central bank independence and high debt levels

  • Bonds take the lead in Middle East financing

    The loan market has had a great couple of years in the Middle East but in 2019 the bond market stole its thunder. However, as the region tries to wean itself off hydrocarbons, the sheer scale of financing needed means both markets will have plenty to do over the next 10 years. Mariam Meskin reports

  • LatAm looks for growth amid easy borrowing conditions

    US rate cuts were, admittedly, the driver behind the Latin American international bond market’s return to form in 2019. Although regional growth remains disappointing, there are encouraging technical and fundamental signs to be found

  • Green loans are coming to EM — eventually

    Emerging markets borrowers have been much slower to join the caravan of green and sustainability-linked financing that has swept up so many companies in western Europe. This is not because firms in CEEMEA are indifferent. As Mariam Meskin reports, interest is spreading, but companies must overcome practical obstacles, which will take time

  • Private credit builds EM momentum

    New sources of capital and new financing models are appearing for emerging markets borrowers as investors broaden the search for yield. As Mariam Meskin reports, traditional EM bank lenders and bond buyers now find themselves battling direct lenders and private capital markets

  • Libor’s long kiss goodbye

    For corporate treasurers, the rates markets’ transition away from Libor and other Ibor benchmarks has created a messy future for their derivatives portfolios that many would prefer not to think about. Uncertain liquidity in new products and having to understand volatility in the new benchmarks are complicating the migration but there are signs of progress amid the confusion, writes Ross Lancaster.

  • Renewables hedging evolves swiftly as banks crowd in

    A fuse has been lit on renewables hedging. In offshore wind alone, a wall of investment is set to hit the industry over the next two decades, one that will take many project sponsors into cross-border investments. Those prospects are already deepening hedging markets, writes Ross Lancaster

Contact us

Publisher: Oliver Hawkins

Telephone: +44(0)20 7779 7304

Commercial director of events: Daniel Elton

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7779 7305


Publisher, special projects: Ashley Hofmann

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7779 8740