News at-a-glance: market wrap (Feb 17)

Investment banks on growth path for 2021; a record ESG bond in South Korea; healthcare start-up eyes expansion after funding, and more.

MARKET OUTLOOK: Report forecasts investment banking growth in 2021

Recovery from Covid-19 will drive growth in the global investment banking market, increasing from $102.84 billion in 2020 to an estimated $111.45 billion this year.

This compound annual growth rate of 8.4% also reflects the easing of operational challenges after the restrictive containment measures, remote working and the closure of commercial activities due to the pandemic, according to’s new report, “Investment Banking Global Market Report 2021: COVID 19 Impact and Recovery to 2030”.

In 2020, Asia Pacific was the second largest region globally for investment banking, with 26% market share. North America was the largest region, accounting for 46% of the market last year.

By 2025, the report expects global investment banking will reach $137.97 billion.

SUSTAINABILITY: LG Chem sets ESG bond record in South Korea

At KRW 820 billion ($746 million), the recent environmental, social and governance (ESG) corporate bond offering by LG Chem has become the biggest-ever of its kind in South Korea.

The country’s largest petrochemical company sold a mix of three-, five- and seven-year notes, while revealing its intention to spend KRW 785 billion to move to renewable energy, among other ESG-focused investments, reported Bloomberg.

ESG bonds are part of an emerging trend in South Korea, to help the country meet its pledge to reduce net carbon emissions to zero under its KRW 42.7 trillion Green New Deal.

To date, companies and governments across Asia have sold about $20 billion worth of ESG bonds across all currencies this year, marking a three-fold increase compared with the same period in 2020, according to Bloomberg data.

HEALTHCARE: South Asian start-up raises $2.2 million for expansion

Bangladesh-based Maya, which focuses on making healthcare more accessible for women, will expand further into regional markets after raising $2.2 million in seed funding.

This is understood to be the largest sum raised by a Bangladeshi health tech company to date.

The funds will enable the start-up to build on its recent launch in Sri Lanka and initial testing of its services in India, Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries.

Maya will also use the funding to introduce new products to its telehealth platform, which uses natural language processing and machine learning technology for its digital assistant.

CHINA: Financial firms should eye demand in the Greater Bay Area, says Bain

Based on growing customer demand and opportunities for cross-boundary financial products, there is increasing scope for financial services institutions to tap China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA).

Research by Bain & Company identifies three mid- to long-term actions to capture the potential from the GBA’s population of over 70 million, its annual GDP growth of roughly 8% over the past decade and its GDP of approximately $1.7 trillion:

  1. To differentiate with innovative products and services tailored to the specific needs of GBA customers
  2. To create cross-boundary digital and omnichannel experiences that work for a variety of customers
  3. To develop an operating model that fosters focus and collaboration for the region to efficiently capturing the new opportunities in the GBA

SUSTAINABILITY: New Hong Kong legal boutique targets sustainability

Ben McQuhae, a former partner of global law firm Jones Day, has set up a boutique practice in Hong Kong to focus on mandates in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Ben McQuhae & Co, which also has two associates, will represent a mix of multinationals, small and medium-sized firms, investors, start-ups and entrepreneurs.

It will provide advice on transactions and initiatives relating to climate, biodiversity and innovation.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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