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Awards for excellence - South Africa

Best bank:

Standard Bank

Best debt house:

Deutsche Bank/Rand Merchant (joint award)

Best equity house:

Merrill Lynch

Best M&A house:

Merrill Lynch/Investec (joint award)

The South African market is peculiar. It boasts some of the most sophisticated financial technology and infrastructure in the world yet it is undoubtedly an emerging market. Because so many South African corporates are global players, listed in London or New York, the best of the country's banks have operations in the major financial centres and can compete successfully with the global players. Yet in their own backyard, the locals are often outdone - particularly in the securities markets - by foreign banks that benefited from relationships with the incoming post-apartheid governments while the leading domestic players were disadvantaged by their perceived links to the old regime.

In the pure banking market, Citibank is the main full-service foreign competitor, though HSBC and Deutsche have strengths in corporate finance and debt markets. Royal Bank of Canada dominates the Euro-rand market, with Toronto Dominion a distant second.

Standard Bank though will take some beating. The bank, which has offices in 14 other sub-Saharan countries and 20 countries on other continents, is the largest South African banking group ranked by assets and earnings and has 1,000 branches in the country.

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