The ICMA Corporate Issuer Forum (CIF) gathers senior representatives of major corporate issuers, representing a wide geographical and industry spread and cross-section of interests, focusing on: the effects of industry/regulatory interventions on the treasury function, primary subscriptions, investor behaviour, spreads and secondary market liquidity; new issues processes and transaction execution; debt capital markets products and alternative issuance markets; technical briefings and information exchange on features of recent deals. 

This newsletter provides a periodic snapshot of the CIF’s key priorities, initiatives and workstreams. Please contact us if you would like to flag any new initiatives, if you are interested in becoming a CIF member or if you have any other feedback.

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“With the CIF, ICMA has created a valuable forum which provides for a  great exchange among corporate capital market professionals. It enables corporate treasurers to become truly embedded within the global capital markets community, ensuring that we are represented in the development of market practice, regulation and products.”

Henryk Wuppermann, Vice President, Corporate & Structured Finance, E.ON and member of the CIF Steering Committee


Sustainable finance
Primary market activities
FinTech 
FinTech and sustainable finance
ICMA ECP Committee
Transition to risk-free rates
Coming up
Recent ICMA Podcasts of interest
ICMA Quarterly Report
    

 


Sustainable finance

With the remit of all ICMA’s sustainable products directly relevant to issuers, the CIF Sustainable Finance Working Group (CIF SFWG) provides inputs on policy/regulatory developments and innovations, identifies issuers’ concerns/priorities and acts as a conduit between issuers and ICMA’s sustainability practice. 

  • In 2020, the CIF SFWG input into EC consultations on the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, and the Non-Financial Reporting Directive. Focusing on sustainability disclosure, these responses highlighted the difficulties associated with different requirements and levels emerging for ESG-related disclosures, including the fact that their presentation may attract different level of liabilities and risks. 
  • Elsewhere, the CIF has kept pace with other myriad fast-moving developments in sustainability, including the Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBP). Many CIF issuers are already familiar with SLBs, including Enel, and Novartis - who recorded a very insightful podcast for ICMA on the subject. 
  • A workshop will take place on 25 February 2021 (to be held jointly with the ICMA Financial Institution Issuer Forum) where challenges with SLBs will be explored by reference to expert inputs and case studies, and an introduction will be given to Climate Transition Finance Handbook
     

 


Primary market activities

Generally, the CIF continues to be reactive to ad hoc primary market issues, for instance, most recently on interest payment cut-off times proposed by the Advisory Group on Market Infrastructures for Securities and Collateral’s Corporate Actions Single Collateral Management Rulebook for Europe. The CIF will continue to contribute to relevant discussions on new issue process and transaction execution, and where appropriate, welcomes inputs from relevant specialists from within ICMA’s other primary market committees, or externally. 

On a longer-term basis, CIF members have previously participated in the Asset Management and Investors Council Primary Market Working Group (AMIC PMWG), which aims to enhance dialogue between investors, syndicate managers and issuers on market practice and regulatory changes and their impact on new issuance processes. Following a number of changes on the AMIC side, activities in the AMIC PMWG will recommence in 2021. 

Cristina Ceron of Rio Tinto participated in the ICMA Primary Market Forum in Q4 2020. Together with panellists from Europe and Asia Pacific, she addressed issues such as sustainable finance, the impact of COVID-19, key Brexit issues, the transition away from LIBOR towards risk-free rates, and other regulatory and market practice developments and dynamics affecting the global capital markets.

ICMA has published a report on the Internationalization of the China corporate bond market, focusing on the trends, opportunities, and challenges related to the internationalization of the China corporate bond market, both from an onshore and offshore perspective.
 

 


FinTech

A CIF member sits on the FinTech Advisory Committee, acting as a conduit between FinTech developments and primary market activities in which CIF members are engaged. Applications of DLT, AI/machine learning, big data analytics and cloud computing have significant potential to alter processing across the entire lifecycle of bonds, and to impact the functioning of financial markets (all of which is tracked in ICMA’s listing of new applications in bond markets. Other key FinTech regulatory, legislative and innovation initiatives are tracked in a regulatory roadmap).
 

 


FinTech and sustainable finance

Most FinTech solutions are agnostic as to the use of proceeds of a bond or of issuers’ commitments to sustainability. Yet one of the key challenges for issuers is data management for impact reporting of use-of-proceeds bonds. FinTech solutions could create significant efficiencies and cost reduction, for example, by processing large data sets and matching an issuer’s data to relevant taxonomies, or by providing better oversight of projects and analytical tools for disclosure purposes. A key ICMA priority will be to leverage FinTech to further the growth of sustainability in the debt capital markets. We expect that the CIF members will play an integral part in marrying these two important market developments together.

ICMA has compiled a non-exhaustive list of recent publications on the topic of FinTech and sustainable finance, with a focus on bond markets. The library is available here and includes ICMA’s recent publication on FinTech and sustainable bond markets under the market studies tab.
 

 


ICMA ECP Committee

Following an online workshop in Q3 2020 on The European Commercial Paper Market Reimagined hosted by ICMA, it was agreed that a formalised workstream focused on supporting ECP market development would be of great benefit to the market. ICMA is expanding its existing ECP Committee structure to form a representative body of the wider ECP ecosystem, including issuers, dealers, investors and infrastructures. Please contact us if you would like to participate in this work.
 

 


Transition to risk-free rates

CIF members are heavily involved in the transition of LIBOR to risk-free rates, and some sit on the Bond Market Sub-Group (which ICMA chairs, and which reports into the Sterling Risk-Free Rate Working Group). This has enabled informed discussion between CIF members in identifying where LIBOR is embedded in numerous parts of their businesses, while assessing solutions. The FRN market may not be such a focus for CIF members, but there has been significant emphasis on legacy stock and alignment of associated derivatives, not just in the form of bonds, but also in loans, commercial contracts and inter-company financings. ICMA’s priority in the year ahead is for CIF members to transition smoothly towards, and to be fully prepared to use, the alternative reference rates (such as SONIA) by the end of 2021.   
 

 


Coming up
 


Please contact us if you would like to participate in any of these events. 
 

 


Recent ICMA Podcasts of interest
 

 

 


ICMA Quarterly Report

Don’t forget to read the latest edition of the ICMA Quarterly Report, which covers primary markets; secondary markets; repo and collateral markets; sustainable finance; asset management; FinTech and the transition to risk-free rates.
 
 



 
 

Contact us

+44 20 7213 0331
katie.kelly@icmagroup.org
www.icmagroup.org/CIF


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