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Awards for excellence - Singapore

Best bank:

DBS


Best equity house:

Merrill Lynch


Best debt house:

Citigroup / Salomon Smith Barney


Best M&A house:

CSFB


The Singapore government is well aware of the need to move toward a more service-based economy. The manufacturing sector is pricing itself out of the market and can only look on as companies move their operations to Malaysia and China. The bedrock for such an economy is a robust financial sector able to compete with foreign banks in an area that will become increasingly liberalized. The government is making noises that it wants to see the consolidation process continuing. The game plan is for just two local banks in the domestic market and for these to then push out into the region.


DBS, a banking giant in the Singapore market, is leading the charge on both fronts. It started an aggressive push to become a regional player with its HK$45 billion (US$5.6 billion) purchase of Dao Heng Bank in Hong Kong. There is some debate as to whether it overpaid for the Hong Kong bank. Critics suggest that if it had waited it could have bought the bank for much less of a premium, especially since some say that Asia is going up in flames again.






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