Tag Archives: investment grade corporate debt

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Fortune CEOs Take Unequivocal Stand; This BD Bids On

Taking a Unequivocal Stand is Easier for Fortune CEOs than for POTUS–so it seems. Fortune 500 CEOs who have taken exception to erratic and equivocal statements made by the current sitting president of the United States have been systematically subjected to ‘assault by Twitter’ by the country’s CEO-in-Chief. In turn, their company’s share prices have suffered from sell-offs, as investors fear the “wrath of Trump” will extend to federal government actions intended to harm those companies who have failed to heed Mr. Trump’s so-called “lectures.” Attacks and Counter-Attacks via Twitter has become a contact sport, all thanks to “POTUS.”

Within the context of Wall Street firms, “un-biased and conflict-free” are two phrases that agency-only broker-dealers advance on a continuous basis. These phrases connote their conforming to a fiduciary posture that is intended to protect the interests of their client above all else. When it comes to political discourse, most broker-dealers are loathe to insert themselves in a political fracas, yet other BDs are run by folks whose moral compass overrides their need to keep quiet, regardless of the risk that a regulatory agency such as the SEC or FTC (overseen by Congress) will , at the urging of Mr. Trump, exact some type of revenge for challenging the current president. Courtesy of BrokerDealer.com Editorial Section, MarketsMuse editors join those who are taking the high road, and in that effort, we’re re-distributing a piece that profiles a unique broker-dealer’s viewpoint expressed via trading desk commentary and distributed to their Fortune treasury clients and the leading Wall Street ‘book-runners’. We’ll defer to our readers to click on links leading back to the minority broker-dealer in question. Hint-the firm is the oldest minority broker-dealer owned/operated by Service-Disabled Veterans.

A Special Editorial from BrokerDealer.com: Most Fortune CEOs, as well as leaders of Investment Banks and Broker-Dealers (aka BD) are typically loathe to take a political stand. For the former, making pronouncements that will raise the ire of the current president are likely to be met by “injury by twitter,” or worse still, federal agency scrutiny of the company, which could prove devastating for public company shareholders. For the universe of corporate leaders with a conscience and also recognized thought-leaders, only a few have yet to prove unequivocal when reacting to the equivocal comment made by President Trump when framing his first view of what US Attorney General Sessions labeled as a”domestic terror event.” We’re referring to the white supremacist rally that led to 3 deaths and multiple injuries in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.

For investment banks and broker-dealers, let’s face it-politics and business mix best with each other when done over cocktails or discrete ‘off-site’ meetings to discuss new capital market initiatives, deal issuance and/or asset management mandates. After all, most traditional broker-dealers eschew taking a political stand that opposes the federal government administration, simply out of fear that the long lips of the current WH CEO will whisper to administration-appointed SEC bureaucrats with a message akin to ‘the right industry regulator might want to make this [firm] go away..” Most, but not all is the catchphrase that compels a re-distribution of a capital markets desk commentary that focuses on fixed income markets and along with a smidgen of geopolitical observations and delivered to a captive group of leading Fortune 500 corporate treasurers, as well as a select group of sell-side syndicate desk ‘book-runners’.

Sponsored by Prospectus.com. Our team of capital markets experts and securities lawyers specialize in preliminary offering prospectus, secondary offering prospectus and full menu of financial offering memorandum document preparation. More information via this link

Here’s the extract of the day’s piece, titled “Risk On, Risk Off, US-NOKO Tensions Subside; Ugly Heads of Racism Take Top Headline…”

Investment Grade Corporate Debt New Issue Re-Cap – A View About Charlottesville and the Aftermath

Risk was clearly back on in the financial markets today, as U.S./NOKO tensions fell to the wayside.  Unfortunately prejudice and racism reared their ugly heads in the Charlottesville, Virginia riot over the weekend.  On Monday, Fortune 500 thought leaders Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & C0., Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, and Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour each took a stand by protesting the ‘equivocal’ comments made by President Trump in his first response to the domestic terrorism acts in Charlottesville, which were advanced by self-proclaimed alt-right and white supremacist neo-Nazis.  Mischler Financial Group  stands with every corporate executive (and every duly-elected or duly-appointed government official) who stays true to genuinely right-minded beliefs and applauds their respective organization’s dedication to doing right by doing good. In case you missed the memo, many of America’s Fortune corporations adhere to this same notion and advance their commitment via proactive Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

 

For those corporate executives who may have spent all of their undergrad time in finance and accounting classes, and for those who are perhaps not as familiar as they could be i.e. American History (let’s not forget to mention world history, too!), racism and bigotry are diseases that spew hatefulness and cannot be allowed in a free and democratic society. The incendiary and incite-full actions for which the various white supremacist and KKK groups are notorious for, are NOT protected by “First Amendment rights.* These are cancers that cannot be discounted or condoned via equivocal platitudes; simple right-mindedness demands they be eradicated.

(*Think Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr i.e. Schenck v United States and also re-visit Brandenburg v. Ohio)

 

To the above point, one need only re-read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to appreciate that D&I is part and parcel to our country’s DNA. It is also part of the cultural foundation of many Fortune 500 corporations, including Intel, including Merck, including Under Armour and including many others! D&I infers respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion. But it’s more than this. We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, life styles and cultures and we presumably all share a disdain for anyone and any group that attempts to dismantle, disrupt and or destroy. Kudos to Mssrs. Frazier, Krzanich and Plank for putting themselves in harm’s way and risk of “injury by Twitter” for being true leaders and staying true to their convictions and their constituents.

 

Kudos also to the many Fortune executives who have raised their own voices to advocate on behalf of right mindedness, and to those corporate executives such as Jamie Dimon, CEO of Citigroup, who have opted not to resign their volunteer roles serving on “Presidential Councils” in protest to seemingly wrong-headed rhetoric. One can hope they have chosen to remain in their roles so that they can be that much more proactive in their WH-appointed roles and/or similar presidential councils in which they serve as volunteers. These are jobs these business leaders have [presumably] accepted to better the country, not to help advance any political platform or political agenda. How the US Secretary of the Treasury or the Director of the National Economic Council can square the so-called ‘equivocal’ views expressed by the CEO-In-Chief vs. their own cultural beliefs will likely be subject to ongoing self-reflection, external speculation and spirited debate. These are smart folks and optimism demands these administration officials be given the benefit of the doubt, just as it is incumbent on any/every corporate leader to serve as role models for employees, customers and clients; just as right-minded parents do for their own children.

 

Today’s VIX closed 3 bps tighter versus Friday’s close. Also a reminder that tomorrow is August 15th – “mid-August” – that’s when North Korea’s illustrious “bad boy” proclaimed that he’d have his master plan ready to bomb Guam developed by.  One week from today on Monday, August 21st begin joint U.S-South Korean military exercises referred to as Ulchi-Freedom Guardian. The exercise began in our Bicentennial year of 1976. North Korea has annually perceived the joint exercise as “preparation for war.” It is the world’s largest computerized command control implementation. Up to 80,000 American and South Korean troops have participated in this exercise in the recent past.  The game will go on for two weeks before concluding on Thursday August 31st.  Enjoy the show Mr. Jong-Un. You’ll have front row seats though I recommend binoculars. Here’s lookin’ at you kid!  To continue reading the day’s debt market commentary, click here

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Giving Credit When Due- IWD & Women on Wall Street

Credit Markets Are More Than Just Selling Credit; Includes Giving Credit When Due: to The Women on Wall Street!

MarketsMuse Fixed Income Curator Sara Abel spotlighted a superb salute to one of the top Women on Wall Street in connection with a bond issuance brought yesterday by Citigroup which was ‘dedicated to’ International Women’s Day (IWD). Here’s the excerpt of the article, courtesy of daily debt market commentary published by minority broker-dealer Mischler Financial Group under the banner “Quigley’s Corner” and authored by Managing Director & Head of Fixed Income Syndicate Ron Quigley..

Quigley’s Corner 03.13.17  Stella Won’t Stop The Show!; Saluting Women on Wall Street

ron quigley, mischler financial, marketsmuse
Ron Quigley, Mgn.Dir. Mischler Financial Group

Today, our good friends at Citibank N.A. issued a 2yr FXD/FRN in honor of International Women’s Day (“IWD”), which was last Wednesday, March 8th. IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women among others. So, today it was a privilege and an honor to step aside and watch as Team Citi once again showed why they have been and continue to be a leading force for diversity in our IG dollar DCM.  Congratulations to the continued collective team efforts of everyone at Team Citi! The nation’s oldest Service Disabled Veteran broker dealer sends its five-star salute to each of you and as well as to all the women in our world and lives. The seven featured Women-Owned diversity broker dealer/investment banks on today’s Citibank N.A. “IWD” deal were:

  • L. King & Associates
  • CAPIS Institutional Services, Inc.
  • Lebenthal & Company LLC.
  • MFR Securities, Inc.
  • Siebert, Cisneros Shank & Cop., L.L.C.
  • Telsey Advisory Group
  • Tigress Financial Partners

Why would the financial industry’s oldest (and arguably largest) minority broker-dealer owned/operated by Service-Disabled Veterans  tout competing minority broker-dealers?  Well, I’d ask “why wouldn’t we?!”  Firstly, its the right thing to do! Second, it provides us the opportunity to showcase one of the global capital market’s leading and cutting edge D&I initiatives, while tipping our hat to the leading women in our diversity space.  So, congratulations for the glass ceilings raised and doors that Citigroup has helped open at their own financial institution through their own incredible procurement initiatives, as well as externally for all these leading women-owned firms. We extend a hardy congratulations to the respective women of D&I in our financial services industry. All for one, and one for all!

So, where do all these ideas originate?  A good place to start looking is from the top down at Citigroup.  Today I would suggest looking first in the office of one Suni Harford….

Who is Suni Harford?

suni-harford-citigroup
Suni Harford, Citigroup

Suni Harford, Citigroup

Suni Harford is a Managing Director and Citigroup’s Regional Head of Markets for North America. In this capacity, Suni oversees the North American sales, trading and origination businesses of Citi’s securities and banking franchise. Citi maintains a premier position across all of its fixed income, currency, equity and commodities offerings. In addition to her current responsibilities, Suni is a member of Citi’s Pension Plan Investment Committee, and a Director on the Board of Citibank Canada. Suni is also the co-head of Citigroup’s global women’s initiative, Citi Women.

Prior to her current assignment, Suni was Citi’s Global Head of Fixed Income research, where she was responsible for Citigroup’s credit analytics, research strategy and fixed income quantitative analytics efforts globally. Suni also had oversight of Citi’s premier fixed-income analytics platform, The Yield Book. From 1995-2004, Suni served as the co-head of Citi’s Fixed Income Capital Markets origination business, where she managed relationships with financial institutions.

Not that she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Suni also serves on the Board of Directors of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, the Board of Directors of The Forte Foundation, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women leaders in business, the Board of the Friends of Hudson River Park, and the Board of Taproot Foundation, a national organization engaged in skills-based volunteerism and pro-bono philanthropy. Suni is also passionate about awareness and support for our veteran community, and she is involved in many organizations in this regard. In addition to serving on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Veteran’s Employment Advisory Council, Suni has worked with First Lady Michele Obama’s Joining Forces initiative. Suni also represents Citi as a founding member of Veterans on Wall Street, a coalition of major financial services firms established in 2010 to engage the broader industry in efforts to support our transitioning veterans. Having helped formalize Citi’s very successful Veterans Initiative, CitiSalutes, in 2009, Suni remains the senior business sponsor for the initiative.

For those not already aware of her pedigree, Suni joined Salomon Brothers in January 1993, after five years with Merrill Lynch & Co. where she was a Vice President in Investment Banking. Suni joined Merrill upon graduation from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where she received her M.B.A. Suni received her Bachelor of Science degree from Denison University, where she majored in physics and math.

Pretty impressive stuff right there folks. Now you know why Suni Harford was named one of  2016’s Top 20 Most Powerful Women on Wall Street!

So, in light of International Women’s Day and today’s honorable $2b Citibank N.A. “IWD” two-part new issue a “thank you”– not only to Suni, but to all the women in our investment grade debt capital markets and in our lives in addition to those who help perpetuate a more inclusive financial services industry.

Before I conclude, a bit of Women-on-Wall Street trivia for you from the guy-in-the-corner’s personal treasure trove –

to continue reading, please visit the 13 March edition of Quigley’s Corner investment grade corporate debt commentary via this link

 

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on a knife edge

Corporate Bond Market-Balancing on a Knife Edge

MarketsMuse Fixed Income Update “Corporate Bond Market- Balancing on a Knife Edge” is courtesy of extract from the 10.02.15 weekend edition of “Quigley’s Corner”, a daily synopsis of the investment grade corporate bond market and rates trading space authored by Ron Quigley, Managing Director of investment bank and institutional brokerage Mischler Financial Group, the financial industry’s oldest and largest minority brokerdealer owned and operated by service-disabled military veterans. Mischler Financial was selected in 2014 and again in 2015 for the Wall Street Letter Award “Best Research-Brokerdealer”

Ron Quigley, Mgn.Dir. Mischler Financial Group
Ron Quigley, Mgn.Dir. Mischler Financial Group

Blackouts couldn’t be more optimally timed as we experience massive re-pricing in our IG primary credit market.  The corporate black-outs are serving as an unplanned, well-timed inherently built-in “kick-the-can” that is necessary in helping us to all buy time as we navigate thru what is perhaps the most unpredictable, treacherous, volatile and uncertain time that our primary markets have experienced since 2008.  As one very senior syndicate source told me “the credit markets are sitting on a knife’s edge.” IG spreads are on the whole 44 bps wider at the end of the third quarter according to Morgan Stanley.

Today’s notoriously and unexpected poor employment data was the last thing credit markets needed and it has instigated a massive Treasury rally. Perhaps this is a bit of good news because when both are combined, is a potential high velocity tailwind to credit products from big government bond funds.  However, that’s “if” funds want to own credit product and hold it for an extended period of time and potentially wear a negative mark-to-market.

Having said that, the guy-in-the-corner suggests that at some point this weekend, you should put on your favorite song and sing along to it after many shots of tequila.  When you get to the point of feeling bad, look at yourself in a mirror and realize that you can begin to feel better with coffee, food, sleep and time but come Monday morning the business model you are used to is about to change.  Not adapt; not get better; rather change. The trends in the credit markets that we have seen over the last two quarters are showing no signs of abating, and in some degrees, worsening.

Now please let me introduce the moment you’ve been waiting for..

Syndicate Forecasts and Sound Bites from “The Best and the Brightest!”   

I am happy to report that once again the “QC” received unanimous participation from all 23 syndicate desks surveyed in today’s Best & Brightest polling.  That includes all of the top 22 ranked syndicate desks according to Bloomberg’s U.S. IG U.S. Investment Grade Corporate Bond underwriting league table that can be found on your terminals at “LEAG” + [GO] after which you select #201 (US Investment Grade Corporates).  Their cumulative underwriting percentage is 94.00% of YTD IG dollar debt underwriting which simply means they’re the ones with visibility.  But it’s not only about their volume forecasts, rather it’s also about their comments!  This core syndicate group does it best; they know best; so they’re the ones you WANT and NEED to hear from. 

*Please note that these are Investment Grade Corporates only. They do not include SSA issuance unless otherwise noted.

The question posed to the “Best and the Brightest” early this morning was:

“Good morning! So, this week the massive repricing in primary markets saw average NICs bust out to 54.23 bps; bid-to-covers shrank to an average 2.02x; today’s numbers were BAD; Obamanomics is quite the engine of growth and job creation, China’s slowdown is showing up in our data (ISM Milwaukee posted its worst manufacturing number since the dot com bubble). Spreads are wider on today’s data to start. Lower-for-longer might just be lower forever!  The two-part question for today is what are your volume forecasts for IG Corporate supply for BOTH next week AND October?  It’s going to be challenging to nail that down but it’s an important survey at this critical juncture.  Many thanks, Ron” 

……and here are their formidable responses: Continue reading