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People: End of an era, and a new start for René Karsenti

René Karsenti has left the European Investment Bank, where he was director-general for just under 10 years, to become the CEO of the International Capital Markets Association, the product of the recently merged International Primary Markets Association and International Securities Market Association.

Karsenti is one of the best-known figures in the international debt markets as head of the largest European-based borrower. His tenure at the EIB was a successful one during which the supranational built a solid reputation for innovation in the capital markets, in particular in the development of the euro capital market, and managed to shake off the image of a borrower that in the early 1990s raised money at the tightest price and damn the consequences.

Industry voice

Karsenti’s move heralds the end of a long career in the supranational agency business. Before joining the EIB, he was treasurer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from its foundation in 1991, and before that was at the World Bank.

Karsenti’s new role is about building ICMA into a strong industry voice. The merger of IPMA and ISMA was a function of greater regulation and the need to centralize the response from the two trade associations. Another factor was the increased presence of the Bond Market Association, which has attempted to replicate in Europe the industry role it has in the US. There was also talk of a merger between the BMA and ICMA but this was ruled out by some of the smaller members of ISMA, who feared their voices would be swamped by the BMA.

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