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Patrick Artus, Chief Economist, Natixis
Jochen Moebert, Senior Economist, Deutsche Bank
The 16th Euromoney/ECBC Covered Bond Congress held this year in Munich once again brought together over 1000 market participants to discuss the key trends and challenges impacting the market.
The timing this year was particularly opportune, coming as it did just after the publication of the European Parliament’s proposed amendments to the Covered Bond Directive. As the Directive process enters its final months, participants at the conference discussed the overall impact of the programme on several panels and even had a dedicated debate on whether the directive would do more harm than good. Reassuringly, the audience decided via an online poll that, overall, they were supportive of the directive. The devil is, however, in the detail and in a series of technical roundtables delegates engaged in a lively discussion of some of the more controversial aspects of the proposals.
The end of the ECB’s purchase programme was another topic discussed in several panels. Again via online polling delegates felt that the most likely impact of this would be a generic widening of circa 5 to 10 basis points in covered bond spreads.
Green covered bonds, and bonds with a wider social impact continued to be a mainstay of discussions with three separate panels focussing on different aspects of this burgeoning market including the possibility that social outcomes could one day be encouraged with preferential prudential or fiscal treatment for the securities.
Finally, the onward expansion of the covered bond market into new jurisdictions was of particular interest to delegates. Brazil looks set to be the next country to join the market as attendees at a dedicated roundtable introducing the market there heard. At least two other jurisdictions were discussed as likely new market entrants before the 17th Congress in September 2019.