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Christian Brand, Vice-chairman, L-Bank

"The emergence of the German public-sector borrowers has probably been the most important single feature of the international primary debt capital markets during the 1990s," says the head of syndication at one of the bulge-bracket US investment banks. Few people would argue with that.

Last year, the special institutions and the Landesbanken in German raised more than Dm50 billion ($29 billion) outside their traditional domestic markets. Given their excellent credit ratings, the frequency of their borrowings and their receptiveness to new financing ideas, it is no wonder the investment banking path to Germany is increasingly well trodden.

At L-Bank's airy, glass-panelled offices in picturesque Karlsruhe, visitors arrive thick and fast. More than 50 banks cover the AAA rated German borrower and vie for the attention of vice-chairman Christian Brand, head of funding Stephan Tribull, and his deputy, Helmut Stermann.

The rocket scientist members of the party might then match their skills against Thomas Keller, the derivatives and options wizard who is head of asset and liability management. L-Bank's first external financing (in Swiss francs) was completed in 1989. Since then the bank has raised more than Dm100 billion in the international debt markets.

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