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A Q&A with our Fixed Income team

Pictured (L-R): Garret Grogan (Head of Fixed Income Trading), Thomas Duffy (Fixed Income Trader), Colm Ryan (Head of Fixed Income – Capital Markets) and Frank Hassett (Head of Debt Capital Markets)

Q1) Colm, tell us about the evolution of the Goodbody fixed income team. 

Over the last 150 years, Goodbody has featured prominently in fixed income markets, both as an agency broker and as a market maker.  More recently Frank Hassett and I have been predominantly acting in a riskless principal manner, which means matching buyers and sellers.  Over the last 12-24 months, with the addition of Garret Grogan and Thomas Duffy on the trading side, we transitioned Goodbody to a principal trading model, meaning we trade using our own balance sheet.  In 2022, we built out our electronic platform, developed and implemented risk along with governance frameworks and policies.  In January this year, we went live in the Irish Government bonds market. Leveraging both Goodbody Chief Economist, Dermot O’Leary’s comprehensive economic research and communications, we continue to expand our list of counterparties and clients. 

Q2Goodbody was recently recognised as a Primary Dealer for Irish Government bonds by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), what does this mean to the team and Goodbody?

Recognition as a primary dealer for Irish Government bonds by the NTMA is an important milestone in the evolution our fixed income business and will support our ambitious growth plans. We are really proud to have been recognised and it is a testament to the in-depth experience of our fixed income team. It also demonstrates the strength of our wider investment banking business. It broadens our capability and overall debt capital markets offering for our domestic and international clients.

Q3)What trends are you seeing in the fixed income market, particularly around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)?

In EU markets regulators have been very focused on ESG in recent years, with the introduction of the EU taxonomy, SFDR and CSRD. The rise of ESG investing is a major trend we are seeing in the market. Investors are increasingly incorporating ESG factors into their investment strategies and decision-making processes. We are seeing a rise in “green bonds”; a fixed-income instrument designed to support specific climate-related or environmental projects. Following AIB’s acquisition of Goodbody, Aidan O’Mahony joined us as Head of ESG Advisory. Aidan previously designed AIB’s ESG bond programme and is currently working alongside the team on some interesting mandates. AIB was voted the most impressive Financial Institution ESG Bond Issuer at the Global Capital Bond Awards 2023.

Q4)What is the Goodbody view on the outlook for government bonds for the remainder of 2023 and beyond

Fixed income has become a live asset class again as central banks have moved away from zero interest rates policies. The European Central Bank has raised interest rates eight times in the last 11 months. However, we believe that this interest rates hiking cycle will come to an end this year, giving investors a great opportunity to buy fixed income. We believe that Irish Government bonds are good value and government finances are in a robust position as the State doesn’t need to issue bonds currently, which creates a scarcity value.

Q5)What has your most memorable moment as a team been to date?

Being recognised as a primary dealer for Irish Government bonds by the NTMA is without a doubt our most memorable moment and not just because it was only a week ago! A lot of work went into this behind the scenes over the last 24 months and it involved a huge team effort. The investment in people, systems, IT, compliance, risk, finance, regulatory and the broader investment banking business has been very significant and the recognition from the NTMA reaffirms the robustness of our controls and their confidence in Goodbody’s ability to represent the Irish Economic story on an international stage. We look forward to celebrating as a team in due course! 

Q6. Describe the team in 3 words?

Reliable, dedicated and persistent.


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