After a decade of being the face of her firm's debt capital markets team in Latin America, Katia Bouazza last year was elevated to a post that now has her overseeing the debt origination business across the Americas for HSBC. Her track record in Latin America explains why. She helped push HSBC to the top of the league tables for Latin American bond sales the past two years (the firm was second in Bloomberg's July 2012 ranking) and she has raised the company's profile among business leaders in the region who are looking to attract investment from Asia and Europe.
Bouazza has opened up new funding channels for clients by helping them raise capital in different currencies. For example, she led Mexico's state-owned petroleum firm Pemex in a debt sale that raised Australian dollars, the first such Latin American corporate issue to do so. A client who has worked with Bouazza on more than two dozen transactions applauds her "comprehensive knowledge" of her customers and says her work ethic and down-to-earth sense of self "brings great credit to the banking industry."
Bouazza spent two years at Lehman Brothers before joining HSBC in 1996.
When Joyce Chang joined Salomon Brothers more than two decades ago as a graduate student studying development economics, the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s still loomed large over the emerging markets business. At that time, sovereigns in the developing world were not yet rated; the debt generally consisted of nonperforming loans, not distressed bonds; and the business was dominated by commercial banks, not investment banks.
At Salomon, Chang pioneered research that examined EM debt as an asset class-launching a career that took her to Merrill Lynch and then to J.P. Morgan, where she now manages a global credit research team of 170 people in 12 countries.
Her group supplies research and asset allocation recommendations for both developed and emerging markets and covers more than 1,700 corporates and banks in the United States, Europe and Japan. On the EM side, the group handles all macroeconomic forecasts, sovereign debt research and coverage of 350 corporates in the emerging economies of Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2010 and 2011, the team topped Institutional Investor's rankings for both EM sovereigns and economics, as well as EM strategy. Chang's international ties have led to an appointment to a corporate affairs committee with the Council of Foreign Affairs. She also is involved with policy analysis groups like the Inter-American Dialogue and the German Marshall Fund.
Carla Harris has said that she enjoys being part of an "older"-er, seasoned-generation of female professionals who can tell the next wave of women leaders about the career guideposts found by those who came before them. The advice is not necessarily meant to ease their path, but to help them recognize the challenges, mistakes and opportunities that are ahead of them.
Harris' own opportunities came at Morgan Stanley, where she started in 1987 in the M&A department and then moved to the equity syndicate desk, where she helped execute IPOs for corporates such as United Parcel Service. These days, she specializes in finding, capitalizing and advising emerging asset managers, with an emphasis on women-and minority-owned firms.
Giving of her time as a speaker and mentor, Harris is a positive presence on Wall Street for women and minorities, clear in her articulation of the challenges they face and of the idea that everyone must take responsibility for his or her own career advancement.
In a trade magazine interview this year, Martina Hund-Mejean described the role of financial oversight at MasterCard as playing "a fantastic devil's advocate." In other words, the finance people at MasterCard are empowered to challenge the assumptions of their business line counterparts, and tasked with representing shareholders by analyzing even day-to-day decisions on a risk-return basis.
"We've been able to make successful organic and inorganic investments only because the finance people were so embedded in the business units, to help them make the right calls," Hund-Mejean told Treasury & Risk magazine.
Those principles have helped shape strong financial results for MasterCard, which in 2011 had healthy net revenue ($6.7 billion, up from $5.54 billion a year earlier) and strong earnings ($14.85 a share, up from $14.05), on transactional growth rates that were in the mid-to high-teens.
Hund-Mejean, who has been with MasterCard since 2007, is a former finance executive for General Motors, Lucent Technology and Tyco International.
Four years ago, when Julie Caperton chose to continue her Wachovia capital markets leadership role in the newly merged operations with Wells Fargo, she was warned by some that Wells was not interested in investment banking.
Whether that had any semblance of truth, Caperton's performance in the past year must have made Wells grateful that it kept the securities unit intact. After increasing revenue by 21% and net income by 38% in 2011, Caperton's division reported more gains in the first quarter of 2012, with revenue up 22% year over year, net income up 35% and balance sheet assets up 29%.
The division's 25% operating efficiency was the highest in the company as well. The results were fueled by new markets such as Europe and new products, such as nonperforming loan securitizations and a structured finance product for depository clients. Caperton's team also developed Wells' proposal to convert its foreclosed properties into rentals.