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Euromoney's Awards for Excellence continue to generate enormous interest and to be regarded as the industry leader in independent recognition. Each year as the vetting process gets under way, our editorial offices are besieged by bankers and their public relations teams lobbying for their institutions. The excitement continues long after the results are decided as banks rejoice over the awards they have won and fret over the ones they missed.
This year proved no exception and the expansion of the awards to include additional facets of the business and new countries only added to the clamour. HSBC Group unseated Citibank as the best bank although the latter institution came through with its usual crop of awards from around the globe, some 40 in total, including best foreign exchange bank, underwriter of assetbacked debt, best at transaction services - one of the new awards - as well as best bank in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
Most of the major investment banks fared well, with Merrill Lynch taking best global investment bank and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell most improved global investment bank. ABN Amro received a special award for best long-term strategy.
Among the new entries were Ukraine where Bank Ukraina came up trumps, Qatar where the best bank award went to Qatar National Bank, and Zimbabwe where the best bank is National Merchant Bank.
The decision-making process for the awards followed the same format as last year. A shortlist of candidates was drawn up in each category based on league tables, the banks' profitability, our own polls and our journalists' market soundings. Following this, candidates were asked to submit a one-page synopsis detailing why they should receive the award. Armed with this information, our journalists carried out hundreds of face-to-face and telephone interviews across the world to get a deeper understanding of banks' capabilities and track record so that an editorial committee could take the final decision.
Executive editor Brian Caplen, researcher Katrin Fhima and Charles Piggott did the research for the main awards. Katrin Fhima also did those for the Middle East, Europe was done by Catherine Garner, North America by Antony Currie, Asia by Steven Irvine, Latin America by Michael Marray, Africa by Philip Eade and Central Asia by Charles Piggott.