As of September 2019, BBVA stood at the top of the Spanish financial and corporate bond issues league tables published by Bloomberg. “The secret to being involved in so many bond issues is the bond value chain and teamwork,” said Regina Gil, Global Head of Credit at BBVA.
The bank has become a leader in debt placement for corporate and financial clients. BBVA secured this position after being involved in virtually all bond issues by Spanish banks and some of the largest corporate transactions that have taken place this year, including issues by Abertis and Telefónica. In addition, the entity was also named the leading bookrunner in the public sector customer segment: “SSAs (‘Sovereign, Supranational & Agencies’) is still our strongest niche. We have been involved in basically 100 percent of transactions there,” underscored BBVA’s Global Head of Credit.
According to Regina Gil, the key to such figures lies in an essential element: the bond value chain. The Global Head of Credit at BBVA emphasized the relevance of the distribution of credit teams across the bank’s footprint, all of them very close to their customers. “Issuers and investors from different countries always have specific preferences,” she explained, “and our model works very well because we have, on the one hand, local origination teams, close to the issuers; and, on the other, local sales teams, which support investors in each country. In addition, our product factories in London and Madrid host our syndication, analysis, liability management, and ratings teams, among other”.
“The secret to being involved in so many bond issues is the bond value chain and teamwork”
“These teams execute the transactions in the primary market, and then the trading team secures liquidity in the secondary market. Issuers trust us because of the support we offer once the issue has been placed”, she added.
BBVA, one step ahead in sustainability
Besides positioning itself as a leader in Spain, in Europe the bank has also managed to improve its standing significantly ranking fourth in green corporate bond issues in euros at the end of the third quarter of 2019. Sustainability has been a key driver of this success.
BBVA has acted as bookrunner in a number of sustainable transactions for corporate clients in Europe, reaching levels on par with banks with much larger loan balances. According to BBVA’s Global Head of Credit, this position attests to the excellence of the entity’s sustainable capabilities: “It’s something we’re really proud about, because we are measuring ourselves against large investment banks, and in this area – despite them being, at global level, more powerful institutions in terms of product – we are competing on an equal footing” explained Regina Gil.
BBVA’s rise in European rankings owes much to the way in which the bank has embraced sustainability as part of its core business. There are many companies that set up sustainability departments, but the bank has gone one step further, deploying specialized professionals throughout its bond value chain: in sales, with agents focused on green paper; in research, with analysts devoted to gathering feedback on investors interested in these issues; or even in trading, where BBVA has become one of the few banks showing green ‘axes’. Regina Gil also underscored the importance of the types of transactions that BBVA has been involved in to date in Europe, and their distinct nature, including Generali’s first green bond, the first one ever by a European insurer and the industry’s largest.
As for 2020, the bond market will benefit from the positive macroeconomic environment thanks derived from the European Central Bank’s support. However, this might not translate into faster growth (of bond issues), as many corporate and financial clients have already covered their financing and capital needs in 2019.
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