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Awards 2000: Pacific Rim

Westpac leads in Australia. BTM is the biggest and the best in Japan. And Nomura Securities retains its powerful position. Graham Hands, Kathryn Hanes


Best domestic bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Best foreign bank: Citibank

Best domestic bond house: Westpac

Best foreign bond house: UBS Warburg

Best domestic equity house: JB Were

Best foreign equity house: Merrill Lynch

Best domestic M&A house: Macquarie Bank

Best foreign M&A house: UBS Warburg

No commercial bank can win an award in Australia unless two major strategic opportunities are addressed in both wholesale and retail markets: funds management and e-commerce. Government regulations demand that 8% of gross salaries must be paid into superannuation, and the bulk of the money will find a home in growth investments with fund managers rather than bank deposits. In addition, the rapid acceptance of internet banking and online broking point to an increasingly electronic future.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) stands out in both areas. Its recent merger with Colonial Limited propels CBA to first place in funds management, with the excellent brand name of First State likely to be retained when Colonial disappears. Commonwealth Securities is the most active discount and internet broker in the country, and CBA's website is the busiest financial portal. The bank's 23% return on equity places it well above its peers, and it has more local points of representation than any other Financial institution.

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