Environmental Finance's Bond Awards 2022

Lead manager of the year, social bonds - local authority/municipality: NatWest Markets

NatWest Markets collected the local authority/municipality social bond lead manager of the year award as the investment bank focuses attention on the importance of social finance secured by regional governments to ensuring a 'just transition'.

Among the local authority deals NatWest worked on in 2021, the bank highlighted its joint structuring and bookrunner role for the debut €500 million ($550 million) social bond issued by the Communauté Française de Belgique (CFB) in June.

The CFB social bond built on its Eurobond markets return with a conventional bond issuance in November after a 10 year hiatus. With investors demand reaching more than €1.4 billion – of which two-thirds was from dedicated sustainable investors – the transaction achieved CFB's aim to draw investor attention to its social projects and also attract them to its conventional debt.

"Regional governments will play an ever increasing role in the transition to net zero economies by supporting new infrastructure and trying to ensure communities are not left behind," said a spokesman for NatWest.

NatWest was also proud of its work with local authority financing bodies. The bank supported the €1.5 billion BNG Bank social bond in November which was its longest-dated benchmark-sized eurobond to date, for example. NatWest was also mandated for the €500 million MuniFin social bond tap in October which was more than three-times oversubscribed by investors, with 75% of the total allocated to sustainable investors – the highest allocation achieved by MuniFin for its sustainable bonds.

"Given the importance of regional governments and municipalities, NatWest Markets continually works with municipality-focused issuers by lead managing their socially-focused financing," the spokesman added.