Awards for Excellence 1999: Asia
Best bank: HSBC
Highly commended: Citigroup
Best securities firm: Merrill Lynch
Highly commended: Jardine Fleming
Best at transaction services: HSBC
Best at treasury: HSBC
Best at trade finance: HSBC
Best local debt underwriting: HSBC
Best equity brokerage: Warburg Dillon Read
Best at cross-border capital raising: Citigroup
Best M&A firm: ING Barings
For the third year running HSBC wins the best bank in Asia award. In the past this has been a battle-royal between Citi and HSBC - this year was no different. Although HSBC has had to face up to high levels of provisioning, Citibank also lost ground, because clients have been carefully watching how its integration with Travelers is going. Some complained that Citi staff were leaving because of uncertainties created by the merger.
HSBC's cautious provisioning, however, was in line with its characteristic Scottish conservatism and it appears likely that it will be written back over the long term. A propitious aspect of the provisioning is that it indicates that HSBC is the most solidly established and broadly based international bank in Asia - it doesn't just lend to top-tier multinationals; clients know it will be there in good times and bad.