Citi and Morgan Stanley take top honours at Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2015

US firms named best bank and best investment bank; Hourican takes banker of the year award; ICBC’s Jiang rewarded for outstanding contribution to global financial services.

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A sold-out Natural History Museum in London welcomed 600 bankers from across the globe on Thursday to celebrate Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence 2015, the most prestigious awards in global financial publishing.

The evening was hosted by William Hague, the former UK foreign secretary.

The awards follow an exhaustive three-month process of review by Euromoney’s editorial team, culminating in close to 200 country awards, 50 regional awards and 23 global awards.

Clive Horwood, editor of Euromoney, said: "We received thousands of submissions from banks around the world, conducted hundreds of interviews and spent countless hours agonizing over the decisions. All of those honoured tonight are worthy winners. These awards clearly show how the post-financial crisis landscape is taking on a firm shape."

Citi was named best global bank. Euromoney said: "Citi is a much-changed, smaller, more focused institution. But it still has a truly global presence, in both consumer and wholesale banking, which competitors will struggle to replicate.

"Citi's management has taken many of the necessary steps to ensure that a global universal banking model works. Our belief is that its clients and its shareholders will increasingly see the benefits of its unique global franchise."

Citi was also named best emerging markets investment bank.

Mike Corbat, the CEO of Citi, collected the award. He said: "By every measure, Citi has become a simpler, smaller, safer and stronger bank. I’ve said since I took over as CEO that two of my goals were that Citi become known for making smart decisions and for being an indisputably strong and stable institution.

"This award shows that we’re well on our way and we have begun to show what our firm can do at its best."

Morgan Stanley won the best global investment bank award. Euromoney said: "Morgan Stanley has always been a great investment bank, but over the last five years has carved out a unique position for itself. It remains a top-tier player in equities and M&A. Its FICC division has been right-sized, and it looks well placed to benefit from rising client activity. Its US wealth management arm, with $2 trillion under management, gives the firm new stability and strength. 

"Most important of all, the different parts of the business are delivering the benefits to the whole firm. Markets and clients are beginning to appreciate the potential of the new-look Morgan Stanley as well."

Morgan Stanley was also named best global equity capital markets house.

Collecting the award, Morgan Stanley’s president of institutional securities Colm Kelleher said: "We are delighted and honoured by this award from Euromoney. Not only does it recognize the firm’s strategic transformation and continued leadership across a range of businesses, but it is also a testament to the dedication and commitment of our employees, and the support and trust of our clients."

John Hourican was named banker of the year for his role in the remarkable turnaround of Bank of Cyprus over the past two years.

Euromoney noted: "John’s task when he became CEO was to restore the bank after the wholesale collapse of the Cypriot banking system, the imposition of capital controls and the bail-in of depositors – unprecedented events at the time. He also had to absorb another bankrupt bank and had no funding sources.

"Two years on, Bank of Cyprus is a remarkable recovery story, with a new and prestigious investor base, strong capital levels, a focused business shed of its imprudent overseas operations and playing a crucial role in Cyprus’s economic recovery. It is a remarkable achievement."

The firm was also named best bank in Cyprus.

Receiving the award, Hourican said: "I am delighted to receive this prestigious award, which is recognition for the extraordinary efforts of the wider management team and all the employees of Bank of Cyprus in stabilizing Cyprus’s leading financial services group.

"This work, notably the €1 billion equity capital raising last summer, has also contributed to the restoration of Cyprus’s reputation with international investors. Leadership is about getting the best out of the people you work with. I hope I was a catalyst for change and helped to unlock the potential of my colleagues."

Jiang Jianqing, the chairman of ICBC, was recognized for his stewardship of the Chinese bank with Euromoney’s outstanding contribution to global financial services award, the first time this has been presented since 2009.

Euromoney said: "How many bank leaders in the world can make the following claims: that they have run their institution for 15 years, generating an average annual growth rate in net profits of almost 30%, and that net profit, which in 2014 stood at a staggering $44.53 billion, makes it the most profitable institution in the world; that they have built, from scratch, an overseas business, which would in its own right, based on profitability, be one of the top 100 banks in the world; and all of this at a bank that was virtually bankrupt when they became chairman?

Jiang’s management, strategy and intelligent approach to overseas expansion mark it out as a global bank of the future. He is a worthy recipient of this rarely awarded distinction."

ICBC was also named best emerging markets bank.

Jiang said in a video acceptance speech: "Thanks to China’s fast economic growth, the strong support from our customers and our innovative efforts for the past three decades, ICBC has become a leading bank in China and a global financial institution.

"Euromoney kindly offers me the outstanding contribution to global financial services award. We have also won the 2015 best emerging market bank award. We hope not to fail the high expectations. We will take advantage of China’s stable economic development, continue to transform and improve, accommodate the ever-changing needs of clients and better serve our global customers."

Other big winners on the night included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, last year’s best global investment bank, which won global awards for best bank for corporate social responsibility, best loan house and retained its title of best global transaction services house, as well as being named best investment bank in Western Europe.

Lloyds Banking Group retained its position as best bank in the UK and won the global award for best bank transformation, reflecting its transition under CEO António Horta-Osório from bailout victim to national banking champion.

UBS, last year’s best global bank, regained its title as best global wealth manager. Goldman Sachs was named best global M&A house and, for the first time, won the award for best global risk adviser. Credit Suisse also won two global awards, for best emerging markets M&A house and best securitization house.

Lazard was named best independent investment bank, Barclays regained the award for best debt capital markets house, and Deutsche Bank was best global flow house.

In the regional awards, the following banks were given best bank awards: BBVA in Latin America; ING in Western Europe; UniCredit in Central & Eastern Europe; and Standard Bank in Africa.

The July issue of Euromoney, available at euromoney.com, contains citations for all the 2015 Awards for Excellence, as well as in-depth features on Citi and Morgan Stanley. The August issue will include detailed interviews with John Hourican and Jiang Jianqing.

For more information on the Awards for Excellence, and to see photos from Thursday’s event, visit euromoney.com/awards.

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