Singapore-based DBS won the coveted award for Asia’s best bank in a landmark decision for home-grown institutions in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2016.
The decision to give the regional title, an award that has historically gone to global heavyweights such as HSBC and Citi, to DBS shows Euromoney’s recognition of the progress that has been made by Asia-based banks at a time when many multinationals are scaling back.
“It is time to acknowledge a home-grown banking champion that has demonstrated consistent excellence and a commitment to innovation,” says Euromoney. “At a time when many western banks are in retreat from Asia, it is right to applaud one that is increasing market penetration almost everywhere it attempts to do business.”
While DBS is impressing in all of its metrics – full-year total income topping S$10 billion for the first time in 2015, with net profit of S$4.45 billion up 12% year-on-year – it is in digital banking that it makes the deepest impression.
A culture of digital innovation pervades the institution, and its launch of a branchless mobile phone-enabled bank in India linked to the Aadhaar national identity scheme could prove to be an enormously influential step.
Another landmark moment came with HSBC’s success in being named not only the best bank for financing, but overall investment banking in the region.
“HSBC’s power in debt financing, allied with the strength of its balance sheet, is well known, but HSBC is not a one-trick pony,” says Euromoney. “In equity capital markets and M&A, HSBC has proven itself in Asia with considerable strength in depth.”
HSBC’s role on the reorganization of Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa, completed during Euromoney’s review period, was instrumental in the award decision.
In an excellent year for Singaporean financial services, OCBC took the regional crown for SMEs. India’s Yes Bank was rewarded in the CSR category for its work in green-energy finance and inclusive banking. And Asia Commercial Bank in Vietnam was given the award for the best bank transformation, having revamped itself impressively after the jailing of its founder in 2014.
In domestic markets, winners tended to be banks that combined innovation and business strength with a clear plan for dealing with difficult problems around asset quality in the years ahead.
China Construction Bank wrested its national title from ICBC, National Australia Bank won the Australian national award for the tough decisions it has taken on underperforming assets, HDFC won in India after a year of considerable digital progress, BCA cemented its excellence in Indonesia, and MUFG took the Japan award for having the clearest plan of what to do about the country’s moribund banking environment.
A surprise award in the Philippines named Security Bank best bank rather than previously dominant BDO Unibank, reflecting the mid-sized institution’s exceptional progress of recent years; Taiwan’s Cathay United was another unfamiliar name on that country’s winners list, reflecting progress in international expansion.
In investment banking in individual countries, Goldman Sachs won in China, Citi in Singapore and India, and Morgan Stanley’s venture with MUFG in Japan. Credit Suissewon in no less than four markets, from developed Korea to developing Indonesia and frontier Vietnam and Pakistan.
Euromoney’s editorial team conducted more than 200 on-the-record interviews in the region and received 214 submissions in Asia in deciding these awards, among the most keenly contested yet.
About the Awards for Excellence
The Euromoney Awards for Excellence, launched in 1992 and now in its 25th year, were the first of their kind in the global financial publishing industry. The nature of the banking industry is changing, and this year we have made fundamental changes to the categories in our Awards for Excellence to reflect this.
The main purposes of these changes are: to move away from awards based on individual product categories where other determinants of status and ability are readily available; to focus on banks/investment banks that can demonstrate an ability to deliver the different parts of their firms to meet clients’ needs and adapt to market and regulatory conditions, and to consider candidates for these awards that might not be global in scale, but are truly world class in the way they are run and in the services they deliver to clients.
Euromoney’s award decisions are made by a committee of senior journalists, chaired by Euromoney’s editor, following the receipt of detailed submissions from market participants and extensive year-round research into the banking and capital markets in the region by our editors, journalists and research team. Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence cover global categories, best-in-class awards in all regions and the best banks in close to 100 countries around the world.
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