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Capital Markets

Portugal: Eager for innovation

Since the adoption of an enabling law in 1999, Portugal's securitization market has grown rapidly, embracing many of the innovative techniques and influences seen elsewhere in Europe. With a new law allowing issuance of covered bonds expected this year, structured finance volumes look set to grow. And the market remains eager for further innovation. Sarfraz Thind reports.

Ruiz: The only limits to the
market are portfolio
availability and size

PORTUGAL'S SECURITIZATION BUSINESS constitutes just 2.5% of the European market, according to Standard & Poor's, but it has contributed some of the continent's most interesting and innovative deals over the past few years. Portugal's securitization law was only passed in 1999 so it is a relatively late arrival to the market, but this has not stood in the way of issuers coming up with a wide diversity of products. "In Portugal we have seen everything from synthetic securitization to government issuance, trade receivables, SME loans, CBOs and mortgages – issuers have done almost everything seen elsewhere in Europe," says Alejandro Gonzalez Ruiz, director in the securitization group responsible for Portugal, Spain and Greece at Deutsche Bank in London. "The market is only limited in terms of portfolio availability and size."

The largest domestic bank in Portugal, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, has assets of €120 billion, compared for example with Spain's Santander's €600 billion and UK group HSBC's €1.3 trillion, so the Portuguese securitization market is unlikely to match the larger European countries in volumes.

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