The best investment bank in Asia awards was one of the easier ones to decide upon. Morgan Stanley had an outstanding year in advisory and equity capital markets, and held its own in debt.
In advisory, the firm dominated regional league tables and was involved in many of the most important deals and trends, from heavy-duty outbound China M&A (Tencent’s purchase of Supercell from Softbank) to domestic India (Vodafone/Idea Cellular), Australian infrastructure privatization (Lonsdale/Port of Melbourne) to Japanese sponsors (KKR/Calsonic Kansei).
Other deals included Chinese issuer ZTO, the largest US IPO in 2016; Line, which had a dual listing in the US and Tokyo; and BOC Aviation, the largest-ever IPO of a leasing company globally.
In debt, Morgan Stanley did not lead in volume terms but was nevertheless impressively diverse in its work. It was on the $5 billion six-tranche issue for Westpac, the largest in Asia Pacific during the review period, as well as a similar deal for NAB. It handled an issue of addition tier-1 capital preferred shares for China Cinda and $3 billion of senior notes for China Huarong. It is an acknowledged leader in formosa bonds in Taiwan, with AT&T’s $1.4 billion issue an example. And it handled subordinated notes for Dai-Ichi Life, a sustainability bond in yen for Starbucks and deals for Noble Group, State Grid and Bohai Leasing.
The whole investment banking team at Morgan Stanley is impressive, candid and smart. Co-heads Dieter Turowski and Shane Zhang, fixed income head Julien Begasse and ECM counterpart Jerome Leleu know their markets as well as anyone.