Crypto continues to make headlines, and Apac developments also dominate the news.

Goldman Sachs has executed its first crypto derivative transaction tied to ether (ETH) via an over-the-counter (OTC) non deliverable forward (NDF) trade with Marex Solutions acting as counterparty.

The ether-linked NDF payout will be based on the price of ether and offers institutional investors indirect exposure without holding the digital currency - on settlement the option holders will receive the cash value rather than ether.

Marex added crypto as a new asset class to its offering in January 2021 and has built a proprietary platform to offer customised OTC and structured note crypto products to institutional clients.

Since then, the firm has manufactured several derivatives in a structured note form – Marex issued the world’s first autocallable linked to bitcoin and then extended its range throughout the year to include other coins such as ethereum and cash and carry trades. ​

In a first for the Asian market, ADDX, a Singapore Exchange-backed (SGX) fintech, has distributed two short-dated fixed coupon notes (FCNs) on tokenised stocks, which were manufactured by Vontobel. One of the FCNs was traded in September 2021 linked to single blue chip US stock while the other to a basket of three blue chip European stocks launched in January 2022 – both products have matured, according to Joycelyn Ong, head of growth at ADDX. The underlying stocks were tokenised by ADDX, which uses a private permissioned blockchain on the Ethereum protocol featuring ERC-20 token standards.

The banking arm of Ping An Group has won the Best Distributor, Commercial Bank accolade at the SRP China 2021 Awards after trading over CNY800 billion (US$118.6 billion) worth of structured deposits and delivering an average annualised return of 3.5% from October 2020 to September 2021. The sales volume was generated from approximately 600 products at CNY340 billion for retail and 10,000 products at CNY470 billion for corporates at Ping An Bank.

In an interview with SRP, WANG Xin, head of structured products, financial trading department at Ping An Bank elaborated on how her team has adopted a brand-new issuance strategy in a response to the regulatory shift and market environment after she took up the reins in late 2020.

Still in Asia, Say Ping New, managing director, regional head of investment and structured products at OCBC Bank, has left following 12 years at the Singaporean bank.

His licence with OCBC Bank was terminated on 21 March 2022 and no current regulated activity is registered, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). New was promoted to his most recent role in February 2021 where he led the multi-asset investment solutions in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR and Indonesia serving wealth customers at OCBC Bank.

Clearing and custody services BNY Mellon’s Pershing will include Halo’s independent structured notes platform in its Pershing’s NetX360 offering access to registered independent advisors (RIA) and broker-dealer (BD) firms via the multi-issuer platform’s technology, analytics, controls, and tools to trade and manage structured notes.

Halo grew by 113% in 2021 as more advisors recognised the benefits of protective investments to navigate market uncertainty and address retirement savings shortfalls, according to Jason Barsema, co-founder & president of Halo.

Halo has achieved several milestones over the past 24 months, including closing a US$100+ million Series C round of funding, as well as onboarding more than 40 global banks and carriers, said Barsema.

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) has licensed the iStoxx Global Climate Change ESG NR Decrement 4.5% to issue structured products. The new index is a decrement version of the iStoxx Global Climate Change ESG Index, which is based on the Stoxx Global 1800 Paris-Aligned Benchmark (PAB) and supplemented by additional exclusions (ESG filters). It replicates the performance of its benchmark assuming a constant markdown of 4.5% per annum, accruing daily.

The Luxembourg domiciled issuance vehicle of Société Générale (SG Issuer) saw its outstanding assets decrease by 6.5% YoY as end-investors continued court proceedings in relation to a credit-linked note on a French corporate.

Société Générale issued 11,500 new notes (among which 87 secured notes) and 1,750 warrants during 2021 through its SG Issuer (SGIS) issuance programme. Total revenues were €45.9m, of which €45.2m was commission income. As of 31 December 2021, the outstanding amount for secured and unsecured notes issued by the company stood at €40.3 billion, a decrease of 6.5% from the previous year (end-December 2020: €43.1 billion).

Image: Flaticon.