Awards for Excellence 1999: Eurozone
Best bank: Deutsche Bank
Best securities firm: Warburg Dillon Read
What's surprising about the award for excellence as best bank in the eurozone is just how short the list of serious candidates is. At a time when European banking is in the throes of consolidation frenzy - a contested three-way deal in France, a huge domestic merger in Spain, a series of attempted deals in Italy that might transform banking there - it is instructive to reflect how insular Europe's national banking systems remain.
In a few cases banks from one of the larger countries have intruded into smaller neighbouring countries. The Dutch have bought the Belgians, the Spanish may well be on the way to doing the same in Portugal. But there are few signs of any true pan-European banks. The two big Spanish players, BBV and Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH), have taken some strategic equity stakes in banks in Italy and France, which may yet come to something or nothing. Among the French themselves, only Paribas could make a case for being significant across Europe, and then really only in debt capital markets.