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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Glossary 2017

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Alternative definitions of the year’s buzzwords

364-day notes
Means by which issuers can sell offshore bonds when the Chinese government really doesn’t want them to do so. (See ‘Tempting fate’.)

Agnostic
What you pretend to be as a loan banker when you lose business to your bond colleagues or vice versa

Alt coin
Extremist political group in favour of alternative digital currencies

Australian housing crisis
Prediction for 2016, 2017, 2018 from London-based “experts”, to be followed inevitably by a banking crisis

Balance sheet velocity
When name lending no longer works

Belt and Road Initiative
An ambitious, multi-year policy to put Chinese banks at the top of the G3 bond league tables

Best in class
Completely unremarkable

Big and ugly
A desirable jumbo loan

Bitcoin
A physical coin to chew on for missing an irrational exuberant rally

Commodity
Asian bond mandate

Decathlon
Any deal that takes a really long time to put together. Opposite of a Roger Federer forehand (or any other strained sporting metaphor)

Episodic
A timeframe defined by an excruciatingly nerve-wracking, high-stress hunt for deals

Esoteric
Label for any products that you don’t understand

Evolutionary not revolutionary
Slow, boring, risk-averse and definitely not winning an award

Fintech
Any mundane transaction involving money that can be performed via a mobile app

Fixed-for-life perpetual
Terminal stage of the chase for yield

Green bond
Connection between a group of bankers on a vegetarian diet

Greenwash
A mouthwash to keep your breath minty and fresh

ICO
Initially criminal offering. Or: I have a bridge to sell you

Idiosyncratic risk
Convenient excuse to skip due diligence

ISDA
I Shall Defer Again

Komodo
A rare creature that can inflict pain if not treated carefully

Lead manager interest
Order book replacement for certain Chinese bond issues

Marathon
Widely misused metaphor for disappointment. As in “It’s a marathon not a sprint”, translated to “We haven’t done very well this year”

Masala
Tasty Indian dish turned bland in the central bank canteen

Microlender
Chinese institution capable of reclassifying bad loans as charitable gifts

MiFID II
Brave attempt to conjure market transparency out of regulatory opacity

Mongolia
(2016) A country about to default. (2017) The hottest emerging markets credit

Multi-product solution
Jack of all trades, master of none (See agnostic)

NDRC
Chinese regulator in charge of deciding when bond bankers are allowed to take holidays

New funding channel
Any currency or market that has not been used for a couple of years

Off-piste situation
Massive problem

Panda
A creature whose numbers have been declining but which is now showing signs of multiplying in captivity

Platform
Fancy term used to make commoditised business units sound as imposing as Google or Amazon (eg, investment banking platform). Has replaced franchise, which sounded too much like McDonald’s

Pot system
Money container originally brought from the US to Europe and now occasionally found in Japan, despite import restrictions

Rating
A measure of credit quality not needed for sovereign issues or raising trivial sums like US$7.25bn

Recession
An old Australian word, last heard in 1991

Regulatory call
Useful precaution in case NDRC unexpectedly cancels bankers’ holidays

Restructuring
When one distressed Singapore asset gets swapped into another

Right-sizing
Downsizing (never upsizing)

Senior non-preferred
Ironically named security that is actually preferred by many Japanese investors

Solution
Any financial product allowing a bank to rinse its clients for a massive amount of money. Especially: “Client-centric solution”

Space
New Age jargon used in place of what used to be known as markets or sectors (eg, the high-yield space). Flatters the speaker’s inner Elon Musk

Spider graph
Utterly incomprehensible chart reserved exclusively for awards pitches

Tap
A reopening of an existing bond line, often a few days later when a big asset manager has finally checked its emails.

Trump (verb)
To make a loud noise but produce nothing.

Twitter
The world’s main diplomatic channel

Unitranche
A leveraged loan for a borrower whose eyebrows meet in the middle

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