As the growth of Asia’s bond market continues, European banks are eager to get in on the action.
The opportunities are particularly growing in the euro-denominated bond market. Although the number of Asian issuers in the market fell from 33 in 2015 to 25 last year, the average deal size increased dramatically — the €19.6 billion ($20.76) raised in 2016 was 38% up on the year before.
French lender Natixis has made slow and steady progress bringing Asian issuers to the euro market, winning one deal in 2015 and two last year. But the bank appears to have more ambitious plans in the offing, having added two veteran bankers to its team to help originate deals.
Natixis has hired veteran origination bankers David So and Maureen Yu, the bank said on Tuesday.
The appointments come three months after Natixis tapped Emmanuel Lefort, formerly its global head of structured credit and solutions department, to lead its capital-market business across the region.
So, who will be based in Singapore, will help Natixis originate deals from financial institutions throughout Asia Pacific, as well as from corporations in Southeast Asia.
He will report to Raghu Narain, the head of investment banking for Asia Pacific region and locally to Pin Chua, senior country manager for Singapore and head of Southeast Asia.
So was a director with Commerzbank in Singapore before joining Natixis, working at the German bank from August 2015 to November 2016. Before that, he worked in various roles at RBS for almost seven years in Sydney and Singapore.
Yu, an ex-Barclays DCM banker, will be responsible for originating business from Greater China region. She will solely report to Narain and will be based in Hong Kong.
Natixis is certainly not seeing these hires as being merely euro origination roles. It helped manage a range of dollar bonds last year, including a $1.25 billion deal for Citic.
But much of the bank’s USP comes from giving Asian issuers access to the European investor base, whether in dollars or euros. And its most eye-catching deal last year was undoubtedly United Overseas Bank’s €500 million issue, the first euro covered bond from an Asian bank.
Additional reporting by Matthew Thomas