Bond markets in EMU focus

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In its description of objectives for the two-day course, The Consequences of EMU for European Bond Markets, BPP Financial Education admits the difficulties. It says that in trying to anticipate the restructuring of bond markets along product lines, the course 'is to some extent necessarily conjectural - albeit in the context of trends that are already developing'.

But it is confident enough to have scheduled five such courses until the middle of November next year, with the first session on December 17-18.

The courses, which are non-residential, cost 750+VAT and are held at Moorgate Hall in the City.

'People have been quite late in attending to the impact of Economic and Monetary Union,' says Hilary Jackson, BPP's sales and marketing manager. 'We have run courses since the start of the year when some people were scratching around for training and there were only two courses available.'

BPP has also been running a wider course, The Impact of EMU on the Financial Markets.

Europe may have lessons to learn from the fall-out in the US corporate bond market, which is suffering its worst downturn since the 1980s. Although European companies have traditionally relied largely on conventional loans rather than domestic bond markets, the current economic turmoil may be leading to changes in the way European banks are now offering corporate loans.

Observers have suggested they appear to be getting shorter in maturity and may be contingent on an early refinancing in the bond market.

Training company International Faculty of Finance (IFF) expects to address these and other issues in its new course, Managing Credit Risk Post-EMU, scheduled for December 3-4 at a cost of 1,899+VAT.

Craig Williams, whose City experience has been at Enskilda Bank and most recently at Nikko Europe where he traded floating rate notes, is excited about the subject.

'There is so much corporate business done through the banking system in Europe. Couple that with an expected contraction in the number of investment banks and the creation of a new European market amid the current problems and it will be very interesting to see what happens. I believe the credit derivative market will most likely expand into the bond market because a lot of people won't want to be tied down,' he says.

The IFF course intends to cover a detailed outline of topics from new asset allocation techniques to understanding how the euro will affect liquidity risk, and using the repo market as a risk management tool post-EMU. Williams hopes for lively discussion and, as a former trader, intends to bring numerous case studies to the training sessions.

'I consider myself a practical trainer rather than a lofty academic. I'd like to go down and get to the logic of why you can't get a price when you want it,' says Williams.

BPP and IFF appear to be the only two major companies providing open courses on this subject at the moment. Baines Gwinner Training covers credit risk post-EMU as part of normal training in fixed-income and risk, and anticipates changes in the marketplace.

Euromoney Training says it has also integrated information about the euro into its existing courses.

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