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Awards for Excellence 1998: Best in the world

The financial markets have never stood still. But rarely have they moved as quickly as they do today. The winners of all our awards by product sector are facing the same forces. Globalization is driving the market and firms are responding by consolidating. Take a careful look at the winners. They are sure to be very different next year.

Awards for Excellence: Europe

Awards for Excellence: Nordic region

Awards for Excellence: North America

Awards for Excellence: Latin America

Awards for Excellence: Asia

Awards for Excellence: Africa

Awards for Excellence: Middle East

BEST BANK: Citibank

This may be the last year it is possible to give just one best bank award. Banking is changing so fast, and banks' strategies for coping are so different, that straightforward comparisons are becoming harder and harder to make.

Contenders for this award this year fall into four groups: those trying to become global providers of wholesale banking services; those trying to become global consumer banks; those with the infrastructure to offer operating and transaction services globally; and those aiming to create global asset-management businesses. Outside these groups are specialists - Bankers Trust and Nomura for example - and the national and regional institutions whose future looks less certain.

The leading wholesalers are Chase, Merrill Lynch the new UBS and, slightly behind, Credit Suisse. Chasing this elite trio are JP Morgan, Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and Lehman Brothers. These houses have significant operations in the key time zones through which they can offer debt and equity underwriting and broking, corporate finance advisory skills and the full range of commercial lending and treasury products.