For credit-linked structured products, the year has been marked by the US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates at historic lows and a lack of market volatility. Such an environment has forced product providers to innovate in order to keep ahead of the curve, and Commerzbank, with a proven history of structured products creation in Europe was well-equipped for this challenge. “Structured products is in our DNA,” explains Steve Yang, head of FIC sales, greater China at Commerzbank. Commerzbank has been a pioneer in the field of structured products since its inception, and continues to broaden its presence in Asia. As further proof of its commitment to the region, the global head of emerging markets credit flow and the global head of structured credit are based in Singapore. “We see Asia as the growth opportunity, and moved the product source closer,” explains Yang.
Despite its achievements, Commerzbank still has a team of five in the region, offering a greater degree of flexibility and connectivity. “A smaller team means a much more tailored approach, and quicker reaction times,” says Yang, underscoring the efficient and streamlined environment that he and his team operate in. As a result, Commerzbank has been able to offer compelling risk profiles and products tailored specifically for clients.
Looking ahead, Commerzbank sees quantitative easing in Europe as inevitable, while in the US, tapering will take away a lot of liquidity. These factors will create a certain degree of volatility in the market, and heighten interest in trading more simple credit-linked structured products. Commerzbank has a strong presence throughout the region, with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, amongst others, and the bank can leverage not just on its network but also, on its long-standing reputation in the field of structured products. “For a team such as ours, in terms of people we may not be very large, but we are ambitious,” he concludes.
That ambition, and the innovative, client-focused approach it has employed in what has been a difficult year to stand out from the pack, has seen Commerzbank voted Best Provider of Credit-linked Structured Products for 2014.