Insights & News

24 Blog

  • The 2017 Bank Stress Test – introducing the BES

    The Bank of England released its assumptions for the 2017 annual stress test yesterday (key elements of the 2017 stress tests), the results of which will be published in Q4 2017.  Yet again, the banks will be tested against an onerous set of scenarios, with the UK stresses being fairly similar to the 2016 version, although global stresses are more severe. To summarise, some of the headline assumptions are, UK […]

  • Insurance Call Risk Being Rewarded

    The callability of financial institution bonds is a risk that always demands a lot of our focus, with the value in these bonds often being intrinsically tied to whether they would be called at the first call date or have the maturity extended. For banks this will partly depend on whether the bonds will continue to count as a form of capital and if not, how expensive the bonds would […]

  • A Clearer Technical Picture

    The markets had an interesting day to digest yesterday, with elections in the Netherlands and an FOMC rate decision making for a potential bump in the road for the current rally. As it happens, it was only the UK government that suffered the bump, with Chancellor Philip Hammond falling victim to the Ides of March after being forced into an embarrassing U-turn of his proposed National Insurance tax rise; good […]

  • Would An Independent Scotland Be In The PIIGS?

    During the 2010 euro bailouts and subsequent 2011 sovereign crisis, investors became so concerned about exposure to the euro bailout countries of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, that the acronym ‘PIIGS’ was coined. The most common question in meetings I had with investors during that period was “What is your PIIGS exposure?”. Is it now time for the membership of PIIGS to change? It might just be, for two […]

  • US High Yield Technicals Rebalance

    Last week we saw a sizeable rebalancing in the technical picture for US high yield resulting in a pull-back for returns, with the sector giving up 1.22% on the week and bringing the year to date gains back down-to-earth to a more reasonable 1.74%.   The cause was quite simply a sharp reversal in the technical picture, as the market had to digest the heaviest week of new supply ever […]

  • Default Rates

    It’s been a while since we commented on this, but as spread levels in European high yield converge on the post-global financial crisis lows that we hit in Q2 2014, we need to be confident that the default rate is continuing to be well anchored. Source: BAML   Here in Europe, the 12 month trailing default rate remains stable and importantly, at a very low level, with the February data showing […]

  • Riskless Rather Than Risk Off

    We have come to that point again when the risk-off portions of fixed income portfolios may well present us with much unwanted mark-to-market risk. The US market has rapidly responded to the various Fed Governor comments that a rates hike next week is now firmly on the cards, and that the pace of hiking in 2017 will be far more meaningful compared to the previous two years. US Treasury yields […]

  • Technical Strength, Structural Weakness

    We recently highlighted how Technical Strength in the ABS market has been a key contributor to performance so far in 2017. With fundamental performance across underlying mortgage, consumer credit and loans sectors broadly benign, technicals will remain an important driver. In the midst of a strong European credit rally we have seen tell-tale signs of exuberance in the high yield sector where weaker credits price at strong levels and covenants in loan […]

  • Technical Drivers Persisting

    Having booked a few profits in early February to give ourselves some firepower for any future rise in credit spreads, we have continued to observe the strong technical picture dominate fixed income flows ever since. Flows into higher yielding fixed income fund sectors have continued to be positive, while issuance has continued to be muted, especially in those sectors that we have favoured as 2017 top picks, namely bank capital […]

  • Views from a Local

    After an eventful 2016 (with the UK electorate voting to leave the EU and a Trump victory), this year our attention switches to the core of the Eurozone as voters decide which path their future should follow; the Dutch elections take place in three weeks (15th March), with the first round of the French presidential elections following in April, and the deciding second round on 7th May. Both the French […]





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