A competitive mandate too far?

The intensely competitive pressures which have resulted in fierce fee cutting across the whole of Asia reach something of a denouement with the pricing of a debut convertible for Taiwan''s Cathay Financial Holdings.

Lead manager Goldman Sachs found itself faced with one of the most unenviable execution jobs of the year yesterday Wednesday as it tried to clear a $700 million convertible for Cathay Financial Holdings. Pricing of the deal, which sets a new record in terms of size, not only came at the widest end of all its indicative ranges, but the bonds were also offered out to investors at 99% rather than par, meaning that the lead sacrificed most of its fees in order to complete it.

Taiwan has become one of the chief battlegrounds in Asian investment banking and the recent creation of holding companies in the domestic banking sector has been viewed as a...

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