The start of 2021 saw the reopening of the primary market and several companies came to market either to prefund upcoming maturities or to take advantage of favourable funding rates.

The trend for increased issuance with ESG credentials continued. Demand remained healthy and New Issue Premiums compressed. We took several issues, but not all, most have performed reasonably well in the secondary market.

January often sees Supranationals funding and first up for us was a 4-year floater from the EIB, paying 100bp over SONIA. This enabled us to switch out of some other holdings with nearer maturities and narrower Discount Margins. We sold risk from Santander and reduced some shorter dated Canadian bank exposure switching out of Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC and TD.

Motability came to market with an inaugural 20-year Social bond, which we took. This important not-for-profit institution has arguably always issued social bonds but this is their first under a defined framework. We also took a sustainable issue from Aster Housing Association. Reducing duration, we sold longer dated issues from GSK, United Utilities and Eastern Power Networks.

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