The regeneration of the local bond markets in Asia has been truly impressive since the end of the 1997-1998 financial crisis. In nearly every market in the region the development of a local currency, long-term, liquid bond market has been a key policy driver for officials and bankers alike. With differing levels of success, each country has developed its local market. And banks have realized that a key component of a successful Asian franchise is having a local markets capability.

Deutsche Bank's local market expertise has been outstanding this year. In each market it has completed groundbreaking transaction that have pushed the development of the markets to new levels. Rather than issuing look-alike bonds for copycat issuers, Deutsche Bank has marked itself out as being an innovator, introducing new issuers and new structures to the rapidly developing markets.

In Malaysia it has marked itself out as the clear leader, not only in terms of issuance volume but also in terms of innovation. It has structured groundbreaking bonds for issuers such as BPIMB, Bank Industri and Encorp Systembilt. In Singapore, it has acted for first time foreign issuers in the Singapore dollar market such as BMW and LVMH as well as leading issues for local corporations such as Singapore Power. In Thailand, it has won key mandates from leading Thai corporations and has pioneered new structures such as structured notes and inverse floaters for issuers such as the International Finance Corporation of Thailand. The bank's Hong Kong franchise, while not as big in terms of volume as others, is still significant. It regularly brings international borrowers to the market including the first Taiwanese bank to issue Hong Kong dollar debt when United World Chinese Commercial Bank issued a HK$500million FRCD? a real coup for the bank.

It is active in all the other countries in Asia - India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Korea and has a leading presence in the Chinese international bond market, which should be easily translated into domestic deals when that market opens up.

What marks Deutsche Bank's debt franchise out is its willingness to bring new deals and new structures to the domestic markets. It also realizes that every local market has its own idiosyncrasies. It this regard it does not try to impose foreign structures on deals but instead it successfully matches the local needs of clients with the applicable local structures to create bonds that local investors want to buy. Best Fixed Income Research Merrill Lynch In our fixed income research poll last month there was a very clear message. Merrill Lynch is tops. It was reckoned to be best at fixed income and credit strategy, best in macroeconomic research, best for research on Asian investment grade credits, and best for research on Asian sovereigns. Need we say more?

Jason Carley, the team's director, is clearly doing something right, and has managed the transition of Chris Francis's relocation to Europe with aplomb.

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