Nineteen ninety-nine saw the birth of a new way to help bring emerging markets issuers to the capital markets: the Overseas Private Insurance Corp. guarantee. A number of bonds were issued with the backing of the OPIC guarantee, but while the market did participate in these transactions, a group of institutional investors gathered together in early February in New York at a Fitch IBCA conference focusing on Latin America and Turkey, were firm in stating their preference for asset-backed securitizations rather than OPIC-insured deals.

The OPIC product guarantees against transfer and convertibility risk, but these are only two issues on a long list of risks investors in the emerging markets have to take into account, said Willma Davis, second vice president and portfolio manager at John Hancock Life Insurance Company. "[The OPIC product] is a product with limited use," she said.

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