When I, along with Damian Watkin, managing director, Damir Hadziosmanovic, senior director and Tina Siu, associate, joined Morrow Sodali, the focus was on building the Morrow Sodali Debt Services team into an established entity that capital market advisors and bond issuers alike could entrust their liability management needs to.
Just over two years later, the team has grown from six people to thirteen, in line with the number of transactions we have won. That success is largely due to the team’s experience and knowledge, which has provided advisors with the assistance and advice they need to structure deals in a market, where complexity and unique situations are on the rise.
The biggest part of value creation is looking beyond the pricing and factoring to the quality and expertise a particular team can provide on a transaction. This can be difficult when some companies may only be coming to the market for the first time or are under financial stress, but this is where advisors such as Morrow Sodali can be of great help. We assist the issuers with making the right choices, based on the overall proposed services and not just based on pricing alone. Morrow Sodali will need to continue to ensure that our service offerings remain at the high levels our clients are accustomed to, and that we continue to innovate in order to ensure clients receive a best-in-class service. As the Morrow Sodali Debt Services Team continues to establish itself in the market, we can see further opportunities, as clients choose us for our experience, technology and overall value-add on a transaction.
ESG and sustainability have been themes growing in importance for our clients, but within the bond industry the notion of green/ESG bonds is a relatively new topic. Many of our clients are either recent issuers of these bonds or are looking to become issuers. The biggest challenge in the short term will be having standards and criteria that make sense to investors and to issuers, and ensuring the transparency of those standards for investors and the wider market. As more investors turn towards ESG and sustainability factors as a key part of their investment decision, it becomes critical for the industry to be in a position to easily compare and contrast how well certain companies are performing within the ESG spectrum and to be in a position to make decisions on their investment strategy, based on that performance.
While recent events have disrupted globalization, I would expect in the longer term that there will be a return to a situation where global firms will still be of major importance. I would expect that the recent disruption will require that companies and people worldwide take the time to reassess their current practices, and it will be important for all companies to see where they would position themselves as the world returns to what may be considered normal. It is now more critical for our clients to be in a position to show that they offer value to their respective clients, while still showing what separates them from their competitors or showing they have not compromised on ESG and sustainability. We have always worked with clients around the globe, all of which have a global investor base, and this has not change despite recent disruptions. It is essential for us to continue to grow our global platform to reflect this.
With BondWatch, our real time reporting platform, the Debt Services Team has brought something to the market that has been missing. In the few months that we have utilised BondWatch for our projects, the response from advisors and issuers has been great, with many advisors using BondWatch to actively update their client on the status of transactions, particularly as we approach the relevant deadlines. We will continue to use further enhancements to our technological services to allow for efficient procedures for all stakeholders involved in liability management transactions, whether those are the advisors and issuers looking to keep track of the status of their transaction in real time; or the beneficial owners and their custodians that often need to submit paperwork on more complex restructurings.
I think keeping track of the technological advancements in our and related industries and looking to ensure that we are in the right position to continue to provide services, in line with those advancements, is the best approach. One of those key areas is the development of blockchain and what it will bring to the financial markets, specifically with respect to ownership and trading in securities. It is important for Morrow Sodali to adapt and evolve along with the markets and ensure that it can continue to provide the added value with our services that our clients appreciate.
For me the best thing about working at Morrow Sodali is the willingness for teams to help each other and collaborate in order to get the best results for our clients. It helps bring us all together and that, in turn, allows us to provide our clients with better solutions to meet their needs. That closer integration, enabled by continuous use of technological advancements, also allows us to be in a position to bring in other colleagues, with more relevant expertise, when a client requires additional services beyond those that the Debt Services team can provide.