Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, investors unacquainted to the delicate intricacies of their providers may misassociate generally positive markets with outright business strength. 2016 was not a kind year to any boat. According to Asian Private Banker, the industry experienced a 14% average drop in structured product volumes for the first three quarters. Equity volumes at Greater China-focused private banks were hit even harder, with the some players reporting slumps of up to 40%.
“More than ever before, 2016 was a year where nothing in the markets was obvious,” echoes BNP Paribas’ head of sales wealth management & family offices, global markets, Asia Pacific, Stephane Honig, contrasting 2016 with recent years gone by.
As any experienced business leader will assert, the most valuable partners are those that stay by your side when tides rise and recede. This year, broad industry consensus is that BNP Paribas has been exactly that kind of partner. An anchor committed to fostering long-term relationships for the delivery of solutions, not merely products, irrespective of markets and appetite. Since 2015, BNP Paribas has set about reorganising its business with the goal of transitioning from being a leading manufacturer to a leading solutions provider. It has done so spectacularly, engaging private banks intensively with cutting edge ideas, after-sales services and markets and advisory intelligence.
“Truth be told, 2016 has been favourable for our new reorganisation,” Honig explains, while warning industry peers of the risks of relying on reverse inquiry execution in the current environment. “If you consider the slowing down of the global economy and expectations of compressed future returns, investment banks just can’t expect volumes from flow products to match previous times. I hope the investment banking community can better position capital market products not as a means to implement short-term speculation but as a strategic long-term instrument.”
Evidencing BNP Paribas’ commitment to excellence, is its stellar acquisition of six awards – a record-high in the history of Asian Private Banker’s Structured Products Awards for Excellence – which encompasses flow and non-flow markets of both bullish and bearish persuasion. Further proof of BNP Paribas’ sharpened focus is the fact that, 15 months ago, it decided to concentrate on a smaller number of clients rather than join many industry peers, whose approach was to cast a wide net to capture volumes at the cost of nurturing deeper relationships.
BNP Paribas is, undeniably, 2016’s Structured Products House of the Year.