HSBC believes it was assisting new issuers that led to it being named Best underwriter for bank issues.
"What sets us apart is the length and the breadth we go to help new-to-market issuers understand what a green bond is, and how they have a role to play," says Victoria Clarke, head of sustainable markets, debt capital markets for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at HSBC. "We structure approximately 75% of all the new-to-market issuers that we work on, which I think shows you how we are open to explore and broaden the green bond market."
This was evidenced by the bank's record in 2016, when it was joint bookrunner on Rabobank's inaugural green bond, a €500 million ($536.5 million) issue in October, which was three times oversubscribed, and subsequently won the award for Bond of the year: Bank.
HSBC also advised the Bank of China on the structure, format and framework of the first-ever covered bond by a Chinese entity listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), having originally proposed the idea to China's Central bank – the People's Bank of China, the Bank of England and the UK Treasury.
In addition, HSBC was joint green structuring advisor, joint lead manager and bookrunner for Bank of China on its international multi-tranche green bond, which raised $2.25 billion, €500 million and CNH1.5 billion ($224 million), in different tranches.
Other notable bonds it worked on over the year include $500 million issue by Axis Bank and an inaugural $300 million sustainability by Turkish investment and development bank Turkiye Sinai Kalkinma (TSKB), the country's first.
Now the bank predicts new ground will be broken in 2017 as more emerging markets issue. Sovereign issuers will also be a major trend of the year.
"We may also see some of those emerging market issuers come in the form of social and sustainability bonds, when you think about the amount of healthcare, education and basic infrastructure, which often does fall into the social capacity," adds Clarke.
She expects greater clarity on disclosure to further galvanise the market in 2017.
"The Financial Stability Board's Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures coming later this year I think will be a further revolution on the type of disclosures that investors are wanting to see [as] one of the key pillars of a successful green bond is that transparency and disclosure," adds Clarke.