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Awards for excellence - Spain

Best bank


Best debt house

Morgan Stanley

Best equity house

Merrill Lynch

Best M&A house


There's not much to choose between Spain's two banking leaders, BBVA and BSCH. They have similar market shares, similar strategies, similar market capitalizations and equally well regarded management teams. But BSCH seems to have snatched a small advantage since it completed what it calls the first merger of the euro era - between Santander and Banco Central Hispano in 1999.

It is still marginally ahead of its great local rival in terms of size measured by total assets and share of customer funds. Perhaps more significantly BSCH seems poised to emerge at the centre of a web of cross-shareholdings linking some of the best-managed and largest banks in Europe. These include Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Sanpaolo IMI and Commerzbank. And nearer to home, in Portugal, it is now close to becoming the second-largest private bank after BCP.

Its objectives in Spain now are to increase its share of key markets with better longer-term prospects than tradition retail and corporate banking. These are mutual funds, private banking and bancassurance.

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