Wells Fargo was named best global bank at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2013 dinner in London tonight. It is the first time that the US-based bank has won this coveted award.
Goldman Sachs was named best global investment bank for 2013, the first time the US firm has won the award since 2008.
António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of UK’s Lloyds Banking Group, won the banker of the year award.
The awards were presented at a dinner in the City of London attended by more than 500 bankers from the world’s leading financial institutions.
“No bank is better run than Wells Fargo, and no bank is better at sticking to what it does best. That’s why the market values it more highly than any of its competitors,” says Euromoney in the citation that runs in its July issue, released tonight.
“Wells Fargo is the best bank in the US at mortgage lending and servicing; at commercial real estate; at lending to small businesses; at attracting deposits; and at cross-selling its products to customers. It has delivered 13 consecutive quarters of earnings per share growth. Its profits for the first quarter of 2013 were $5.2 billion, with a hard-to-beat return on assets of 1.49%.”
John Stumpf, the chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo, said in accepting the award: “On behalf of all my teammates at Wells Fargo, I thank Euromoney for this recognition. It is an honour to be recognized by such a venerable organization committed to excellence in financial journalism, and to be selected from among a group of financial institutions that include some of the finest companies in the world.”
Goldman Sachs wins the award for best global investment bank for the strength of its performance across all sectors of the financial markets, and notably in mergers & acquisitions and equity capital markets. Goldman has clearly put behind it the reputational issues that dogged the firm in the wake of the financial crisis.
“Goldman Sachs has had an exceptional year whichever way you look at it,” says Euromoney. “It remains the intermediary and adviser of choice for so many of the world’s biggest companies, and it is still the business that all the other firms concede remains their most formidable competitor.”
Some of those competitors claim Goldman’s broker/dealer model will struggle to survive in the new regulatory environment for banks, but Euromoney says the evidence proves otherwise: “If you could point the finger at what makes Goldman stand out, it is the firm’s ability to adapt quickly to changes in the markets. They are smart business people as well as talented bankers. It has always reallocated resources and assets as the markets change. It empowers the people who run its divisions to do so. For all the talk of banking models, this is the model that works best for Goldman Sachs.”
Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, said in a speech accepting the award: “We are delighted to be named best global investment bank as part of Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence 2013. It is a real honour to receive this award and the other recognitions from a publication of Euromoney’s stature. Since we last won this award back in 2008, our industry – including and maybe, especially, our firm – have been under considerable scrutiny and pressure. I believe our industry is stronger since then and I know that Goldman Sachs is a better institution through learning from our own experiences.”
António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, was named banker of the year for his efforts to restore the UK bank to profitability over the past two years. His achievements include reducing non-core assets and rebuilding its UK banking business to the point where UK chancellor George Osborne recently announced he is ready to sell down the government’s 39% stake.
“Tough decisions taken at critical times have helped revive the fortunes of Lloyds Banking Group,” said Euromoney. “Now António Horta-Osório can concentrate on making the most of the UK’s biggest bank.”
Those tough decisions included repaying short-term loans from the UK government, accepting liability for PPI mis-selling and accelerating the sale of business lines and assets that did not fit the new Lloyds model, often at capital-accretive levels. The market has clearly recognized these achievements: Lloyds’s market capitalization has risen by 147% over the past 18 months, the highest of any major bank. Lloyds was also named best bank in the UK.
Collecting the award, Horta-Osório said: “I am honoured to have won this prestigious award. It is testimony to the hard work done by teams across the business to support our strategy of transforming the Group into a simple, UK customer-focused, low-risk retail and commercial bank that is delivering real benefits for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”
Sir Win Bischoff, Lloyds Banking Group’s chairman, said: “This award is a fitting recognition of what António and the team have achieved in re-establishing Lloyds as a great banking name and business. We anticipated that our strategic plan to transform the business would take between three and five years but, two years on from António launching it, we are ahead of schedule and making substantial progress across all aspects of the strategy. The bank is now back to profitability, which will enable it fully to support businesses, households and communities."
The Euromoney Awards for Excellence are the global benchmark for the global banking industry.
Other big winners on the night included HSBC, which won global awards for best risk adviser, best transaction banking house and best emerging market investment bank, as well as winning more global, regional and country awards (24 in total) than any other bank.
During the dinner, the banking industry also raised £781,900for Euromoney’s charity for 2013, Action Against Cancer. The charity’s patron, Sir Michael Parkinson, as well as the leader of AAC, world-renowned oncologist Professor Justin Stebbing, were at the dinner to explain the enormous benefit that its research into treatment for cancer could have around the world.
About the Awards for Excellence
Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence cover more than 20 global product categories, best-in-class awards in all regions and the best banks in close to 100 countries around the world. The full list will be live on euromoney.com/awards