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Bankers from across the Middle East gathered to attend the Euromoney Middle East Awards for Excellence dinner at Grosvenor House in Dubai, May 17.
The awards recognised banks that stood out during a year when bank liquidity conditions began to ease, while navigating economic reform remained paramount and debut sovereign bonds brought record issuance in the debt capital markets.
Commercial International Bank (CIB) won the award for the Middle East’s best bank, as it remained the Egyptian banking sector’s biggest profit-earner after Egypt staged its dramatic shift to a floating exchange rate.
“CIB recorded a return on equity of 34% in 2016, higher than any other top-tier lender in the region,” says Euromoney. “It is an institution posting sky-high returns, with steadily increasing net income, at the same time as exceptional risk management and liquidity, and stellar efficiency.
“CIB retains a solid hold of the local corporate banking market from project finance to transaction services. It is furthering a shift to what it sees as its core businesses for the future – principally retail banking, where it already counts around a million customers, and is also expanding in SMEs and digital banking.”
International banks continue to do battle with the locals, with HSBC retaining the award for the region’s best investment bank.
“In a year when époque-making investment-banking mandates came thick and fast, HSBC has barely missed any of them,” says Euromoney. “It was instrumental in bonds from the debut international issuance by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to jumbo deals by Oman and Qatar, ground-breaking new instruments for regional financial institutions, and helping big acquisitions by firms like Qatar Airways.”
Among those competing with HSBC isFirst Abu Dhabi Bank, which takes the award for best bank for financing. The result of a merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank, the new organization benefits from the results of NBAD’s work to build up a debt financing capacity, particularly tapping a local investor base.
“The dearth of equity financing in the Middle East plays into the hands of firms with strong debt franchises, but the local banks are not leaving the growth of the bond markets to the international lenders,” says Euromoney.
Volumes also boomed in the M&A markets, with JPMorgan winning the Middle East’s best bank for advisory, after taking market share and advising on the largest proportion of M&A deals during the awards period.
Other winners include Standard Chartered as the region’s best bank for markets, Credit Suisse was the region’s best bank for wealth management, and Citi was best bank for corporate social responsibility.
Among the locals, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank won best bank for transaction services, Bank of Alexandria won the best bank for SMEs, and Emirates NBD best digital bank. Ayandeh Bank won the best bank transformation award after successfully accomplishing a merger of troubled banks to become one of Iran’s biggest private bank.
In the country-specific categories, there was a return of Al Rajhi Bank, best bank in Saudi Arabia, where HSBC Saudi Arabia was best investment bank. In the UAE, Emirates NBD retained the best bank award, and First Abu Dhabi Bank won best investment bank. In Egypt, CIB won best bank and EFG Hermes won best investment bank. Qatar National Bank was best bank in Qatar, where HSBC also won best investment bank. National Bank of Kuwait was best bank in Kuwait, where Citi won best investment bank.
Other best bank winners were Ahli United in Bahrain, Bank Pasargad in Iran, Arab Bank in Jordan and Blom Bank in Lebanon. HSBC Bank Oman and Bank of Palestine were the best bank winners in their home markets.
The Euromoney Awards for Excellence, launched in 1992 and now in its 26th consecutive year, were the first of their kind in the global financial publishing industry.
Euromoney’s Awards remain the hardest to win, and the most sought-after, in the global banking industry.
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 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.
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