10 November 2021: IEM Finance Survey: Primary dealers as perceived by investors

IEM Finance conducted the 19th online annual survey of French primary dealers’ (SVTs) clients from 6 September 2021 to 24 September 2021. The aim of this survey is to assess the quality of commercial relationship and services provided by primary dealers to their clients, as well as clients’ views on the functioning of the French government debt market.

In 2021, 197 investors, representing a total of 136 institutions (Asset Management companies, Banks, Insurance companies...), responded to the questionnaire. This corresponds to a response rate of 27.7% in terms of respondents and 51.1% in terms of institutions surveyed.

Main results of the survey:
 

1- The French government debt market:

-    Investor satisfaction on the functioning of French government debt market remains very high, both in France and abroad. Among all investors, 98.3% declared to be “very satisfied” or “satisfied”.

-    Liquidity and transparency remain highly valued by investors, who consider those criteria to be important for a sovereign issuer, such as AFT. They were 89.4% to assess the liquidity as “very important” and 72.5% of them had the same assessment regarding transparency. Regarding the latter, this is a significant increase from last year (+4.4 percentage points) and the highest level ever recorded. The assessment of predictability has been improving continually since 2018. In 2021, 52.7% of investors consider it as “very important”.

-    Liquidity is considered to be satisfactory (“very satisfactory” or “satisfactory”) by a very large part of investors for OAT, BTF and inflation-indexed securities. Among investors who were able to provide their opinion, they were respectively 98.9%, 92.5% and 79.5% to assess it as satisfactory. For inflation-indexed securities, this represents an increase by 9 percentage points as compared to last year.

-    Beyond information provided by AFT, a vast majority of investors (92.7%) were still “satisfied” by the information received from French public institutions on economic policy and public finances

-    Investors who declared to be “very satisfied “or “satisfied” by the tapping of existing securities are still in the majority. Among investors who gave their opinion, 95% declared to be satisfied.

-     In 2021, the proportion of investors who declared to have bought a Green OAT (Green OAT 1.75% 25 June 2039 and/or Green OAT 0.50% 25 June 2044) increased sharply (+16 percentage points) after the launch of the new Green OAT 0.50% 25 June 2044 on 16 March 2021. It went from 45.8% in 2020 to 61.7% in 2021. Nearly three quarters of them (compared with less than two-thirds last year) declared to have bought it for its “Green” specific feature. Investors who expressed an opinion declared to be satisfied with the information published on Green OATs (93.9% as last year).

 

2- The Primary dealers - SVTs:

- On fixed-income markets overall, the top-five most frequently quoted primary dealers by investors as being their main partner are:

2021 2020
1 – JP Morgan
2 – BNP Paribas
3 – Citigroup
4 – Barclays
5 – Nomura
1 – JP Morgan
2 – BNP Paribas
3 ex aequo – Barclays and Nomura
5 – Goldman Sachs

- On the French government debt market, the top-five most frequently quoted primary dealers by investors as being their main partner are:

2021 2020
1 – BNP Paribas
2 – JP Morgan
3 – Crédit Agricole - CIB
4 – Société Générale
5 – Deutsche Bank
1 – BNP Paribas
2 – JP Morgan
3 – Crédit Agricole - CIB
4 ex aequo – HSBC France and Société Générale

 

-    For the investors surveyed, being a primary dealer is still the most important criterion for the selection of an intermediary, followed by the League Table published by AFT at the beginning of the year, which assesses the performance of primary dealers on the primary and secondary markets and in terms of the quality of the service offered. The importance of League Table published by AFT increased once again: the proportion of investors who considered them to be “very important” or “important” (43.5%) reached its highest level since the launch of the survey in 2003.

-    Investors also gave their opinion on attention paid to the quality of various services offered by primary dealers:

o    The quality of pricing remains largely ahead of investor expectations. In 2021, 92.3% of them were assessing it as “very important”. This is the highest level observed since the launch of the survey in 2003.
o    Information, advice and sales coverage, as well as research, coming in second and third place respectively, were also assessed as “very important” by investors, to a greater extent in 2021. The two services were considered to be “very important” by 59.0% and 38.2% of investors respectively, against 51.6% and 31.7% in 2020 respectively.
o    Regarding the post-market (back/middle office), it was considered to be "very important" by a slightly larger proportion of investors in 2021 (29.7%) than in 2020 (27.7%).

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