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.