ICMA | International Capital Market Association

Newsletter - first edition - May 2015


Welcome to this first newsletter from the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Asia Pacific Region. We are very pleased to be able to offer this service to ICMA members and others in the region for the first time. We hope that it will provide useful insights on the way ICMA works with market participants and regulators to develop efficient working practices in Asian debt capital markets.

ICMA opened its Asia Pacific representative office in Hong Kong in 2013 and in a short period of time (less than two years), we have made significant progress with 30 members across the APAC region. Many more institutions and industry participants are also currently considering membership. We have also established a regional APAC committee to guide our efforts and initiatives in the region.

I am greatly appreciative of the efforts and the dedication of ICMA in helping members and market participants in setting best practices through training and research, and establishing documentation standards in our region. This is much needed, as the task ahead of us is great and the challenges many as our capital markets grow and develop. We will have to adapt to important structural changes and the evolving regulatory landscape to meet these challenges. Though we face challenges and sometimes progress seems slow, I am confident in the long term fundamentals and the potential of the APAC region as a whole, as it continues to grow faster than North America and Europe and becomes the growth engine of the globe.

We are seeing a greater shift towards bonds in the financing mix in Asia, substituting and supplementing traditional banking loans (which will not suffice) to finance the coming wave of economic development and growth in the region.

I am excited about the prospects of ICMA and its mission in the APAC region, as we position ourselves to be relevant to all our members (buy and sell side), as we actively engag in the setting of standards and best practices, along with constructive dialogue with all industry participants (including our regulators and other trade associations).

This is truly an exciting time to be in the capital markets industry in Asia. The future is bright and together we have a responsibility to build resilient, efficient and deeper markets, even as the capital market accelerates in its development and growth in the APAC region in the next couple of years.

Your thoughts on ICMA’s strategy and work programme are always appreciated. Please do feel free to contact us via our Hong Kong office.


Valerian Crasto

DBS Bank Ltd, MD and COO, Treasury & Markets

Chairman, ICMA Asia Pacific Region

ICMA in Asia Pacific

The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) has promoted resilient and efficient capital markets for almost 50 years by developing industry accepted guidelines, recommendations and standard documentation and by encouraging dialogue between all segments of the industry as well as governments, regulators and central banks.

The ICMA Asia Pacific representative office in Hong Kong was opened in 2013 to support ICMA’s members in the region and to resolve regulatory and market practice issues related to ICMA’s areas of international expertise.

ICMA has more than 30 members in Asia-Pacific based in Hong Kong and mainland China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and is very pleased to welcome the most recent additions to membership from the region.

Indonesia Stock Exchange, Jakarta
Malayan Banking Berhad (trading as Maybank), Kuala Lumpur
Morgan Stanley Asia Limited, Hong Kong
Nomura Financial Products & Services, Inc.,Tokyo
Nomura Fixed Income Securities Private Limited, Mumbai
Philippines Bureau of Treasury, Manila
Shanghai Clearing House, Shanghai
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Tokyo
ICICI Bank UK Plc, London

Worldwide, ICMA has more than 470 members located in approximately 60 countries including issuers, intermediaries, infrastructure providers, investors, central banks, and law firms.


A regional committee drawn from ICMA members guides ICMA’s work programme in Asia-Pacific to ensure that it meets the needs of its members.

The members of the committee are:

Valerian Crasto
Chairman of the ICMA Asia Pacific Regional Committee
DBS Bank Ltd.

Herman Bake
Deutsche Bank

Indonesia Stock Exchange

Magnus Karlsson
Nordea Bank AB (publ)

Chin Tok Lee
CIMB Bank Berhad

Marie Patton
ICAP Securities Limited

Peter Siembab
Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited

Srinivas Uriti

Stephen Williams
HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited

ICMA Legal & Regulatory Helpdesk in ASIA PACIFIC

ICMA's legal and regulatory helpdesk offers guidance to its members in Asia Pacific on the following:

ICMA Primary Market Handbook
ICMA Rules and Recommendations for the Secondary Market
Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA)
ICMA GMRA Legal Opinions
ICMA Conciliation and Arbitration

Call: +852 2531 6590 (Hong Kong)

Email: for legal enquiries: legalhelpdesk@icmagroup.org, for market practice and regulatory policy queries: regulatoryhelpdesk@icmagroup.org

Asian Primary Market Committees

ICMA has established two committees focused on the Asian debt primary markets. The Asia Bond Syndicate Forum brings together leading global and regional underwriters in the cross-border markets. Complementing the syndicate forum, ICMA’s more recent gathering of Asia legal and transaction managers puts a greater emphasis on regulation, compliance, contracts and disclosure. Discussions have echoed many of the topics arising in the ICMA Primary Market Practices Committee and the ICMA Legal and Documentation Committee, but have also shed a light on some areas where Asian perspectives and practices differ. The subjects covered have included investor meetings, order book transparency, pricing iterations, allocations, stabilisation, retail distribution, and the dynamics and risks of a growing market.

Secondary markets and liquidity

A recent study of the state of the European credit markets by ICMA, as well as research with ICMA stakeholders in the Asia Pacific region, largely support the view that liquidity is declining. Regulation has also affected banks’ ability and willingness to support secondary market trading books. Basel III capital requirements, leverage ratios, EMIR’s rules on hedging, the Volcker rule, and other trading restrictions all add to the cost of holding a position – which discourages banks from making two-way prices. Diminishing liquidity in the repo market - caused by low interest rates and low volatility as well as regulatory pressures – has also adversely affected secondary market liquidity and price discovery. Various possible solutions are explored, including electronification of the market, but the study concludes that challenges facing secondary bond markets will require the constructive and coordinated effort of all stakeholders.

Repo markets

ICMA's European Repo Council has been at the centre of codifying standard practice in the repo market in Europe for many years and published a Guide to best market practice in the European repo market in 2014. It is hoped that the European Guide will shortly be adapted to practice in Asian markets.

The Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA) and its supporting legal opinions on legal enforceability in more than 60 jurisdictions, (including China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines) constitute the essential documentation for repo. The 2015 updated opinions are now available (ICMA members only).

To address a number of enquiries from our Asia-Pacific members on GMRA 2000 and 2011 versions, we held a conference call with regional members to discuss the evolution of the GMRA, new features of the 2011 version, and protocols to allow market participants to more easily adopt the latest version.

Dialogue with China

ICMA has worked closely with China's National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors (NAFMII) with respect to the onshore interbank bond market. In particular, as part of the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, ICMA and NAFMII have established a private sector working group bringing together experts from financial institutions in London and China to share expertise on primary market practices, procedures, and related regulations.

Malaysian Investment Banking Association

ICMA works closely with a number of national associations and most recently signed an MoU on with the Malaysian Investment Banking Association (MIBA) to exchange expert views and experience on best market practice and regulatory matters in debt capital markets.


ICMA runs conferences, workshops and events events throughout Asia, last year’s series of workshops on the Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA) took place in Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, with workshops scheduled in Malaysia and other Asian financial centres in 2015.

In March 2015, ICMA held its inaugural Asia Primary Market Forum in Hong Kong, which brought together delegates from syndicate desks, legal and operations teams, infrastructure providers, law firms, and regulators across the region. Panel discussions on the regional markets focused on bond syndicate practices and legal and documentation questions; they covered topics including pricing guidance, the art and science of distribution to investors, secondary market liquidity, reducing reputational risk, enhancing due diligence and disclosure for new and infrequent issuers, managing information flows during the marketing process, and documenting credit support structures common to Asia.

At the same event ICMA held an introductory workshop on the ICMA Primary Market Handbook, which is used as a key reference for standard market practices in debt capital market transactions in the region. The handbook covers internationally syndicated primary debt capital markets offerings, generally excluding high-yield and equity-linked transactions. Also, many of the long-standing principles and standard clauses of the handbook have been borrowed and adapted to local Asian capital markets.

In April 2015, ICMA held an in depth review of the GMRA, jointly with Clifford Chance in Singapore. The next ICMA/Clifford Chance GMRA workshop is scheduled to take place on 23 June in Singapore. To reserve your place, please contact the ICMA Events Team.

ICMA AGM and Conference, Amsterdam, 3 to 5 June
Registrations are open for the Association’s annual flagship event where as many as 800 representatives from the markets meet to discuss current issues. This year’s conference features a major section on ‘Developments in China’s onshore RMB market’ with speakers including Jianhong Liu, Deputy Secretary General, NAFMII; Mingyou Bao, Chief Representative, People’s Bank of China Representative Office for Europe; Zhen Xu, Chairman, Shanghai Clearing House. ICMA members are entitled to a number of complimentary places and the event is open to all financial market participants and regulators.


ICMA Executive Education’s flagship certificate courses - the Fixed Income Certificate (FIC), Financial Markets Foundation Course (FMFC) and the Securities Operations Foundation Course (SOFC) – are now also available online.

ICMA Executive Education delivers internationally recognised training courses that are required training for many of our member firms. The courses are taught by current and former financial markets practitioners and blend practical and academic know-how. A full programme of courses runs throughout the year leading to benchmark qualifications for both the front office and operations areas of the business. ICMA EE also develops and runs unique tailored training courses in-house for member firms and two ICMA members in Singapore are about to take advantage of this service. The ICMA Hong Kong office is able to supply more information on how to access ICMA EE’s offering.

ICMA representative office in Hong Kong

Phone: +852 2531 6592

Address Hong Kong Representative Office Unit 3603, Tower 2, Lippo Centre 89 Queensway Admiralty Hong Kong

Mushtaq Kapasi Chief Representative, ICMA Asia Pacific, Direct line: +852 2531 6590, mushtaq.kapasi@icmagroup.org

Ricco Zhang Director, ICMA Asia Pacific, Direct line: +852 2531 6591, ricco.zhang@icmagroup.org

Christina Siu Assistant, Direct line: +852 2531 6592, christina.siu@icmagroup.org


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