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The 4th Euromoney/ECBC Asian Covered Bond Forum took place in Singapore on 7 March 2017. The conference started with a welcome by Luca Bertalot, secretary general of the European Mortgage Federation and the European Covered Bond Council. He emphasised the importance of covered bonds as a source of access to long term funding, as a crisis management tool and as a vital component of CMU.
We were very fortunate to have our keynote speaker Ad Visser of the European Central Bank who spoke on the importance of covered bonds to the ECB, in the context of the purchase programme but also via the ECB’s investment portfolio and as collateral for liquidity operations.
The first panel of the day featured speakers from leading Asian issuers, UOB and DBS Bank, and addressed the development of covered bonds in Singapore and how it transitions from a debutant to a mature market. The panel discussions continued with the second panel looking at the development of the covered bond market from a more global perspective. In particular it was noted that it was possible that the European Union might drop its restriction on EEA only covered bonds qualifying for preferential treatment for investors. Also the possibility of a global recognition of the asset class by the Basle committee was discussed and welcomed by panellists.
The third panel reviewed the status of the covered bond market in Europe. Panellists discussed the unintended consequences of the ECB’s purchase programme and the possible future developments of this. They also discussed the possibility of a Covered Bond Directive being introduced by the European Commission in the near future and how this might differ from existing regulations.
In a first for this conference, several members of the audience participated in five roundtables which discussed specific topics of interest in more detail and these were subsequently summarised by a spokesperson for the table. Themes touched on included what is necessary to develop a local currency investor base for covered bonds and what benefits this may generate for the strength of the product in newer markets and to what extent Asian covered bonds should attempt to replicate European rules, in particular with regard to eligible assets.
The final panel of the day reviewed possible developments of the covered bond market in other countries including India, Malaysia, China and Japan. A Treasury representative from Bank of China described how they have recently matched covered bond technology with the growing green bond market in that country.
The Asian Covered Bond Forum continues to be a standout event in the Asian and global covered bond market. Euromoney Conferences would like to would like to thank all of our sponsors, speakers and participants for their support and for making the 2017 Asian Covered Bond Forum ng success. We look forward to returning to Singapore in 2018.