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Citi under-estimates demand for loans

Citi resumed its annual London Credit Conference on November 19, having skipped a year in 2008 because of the chaos in the markets following Lehman’s collapse. It is always a popular event; this year a record 1,300 delegates registered – a reflection of the boom that fixed-income desks are enjoying. But popularity brings its own challenges. The conference was held in Westminster’s Central Hall, a venue with an array of rooms ranging from capacious to, well, not. The hordes of delegates picked clean the refreshment offerings and necessitated early attendance at some panels. It also revealed what a fine art matching potential audiences to panel topics really is. Immediately before lunch a discussion entitled ‘Investing in loan products’ was held in one of the smaller back rooms of the venue. So many delegates turned up for the talk that a queue snaked along the corridor and into the vestibule and rows of bankers were forced to squeeze into the room and stand for the duration. Meanwhile, attendees in the larger lecture hall and library enjoyed stretching out along the rows of empty seats for their presentations. A more graphic illustration of where investor interest in the credit market currently lies would be hard to find.