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Nordic & Baltic region

Best bank
Svenska Handelsbanken Best debt house
Barclays Capital

Best equities house
Enskilda Securities

Best M&A house
Deutsche Bank

Best at cash management
SEB

Best at risk management
Deutsche Bank

Best at investor services
Nordea

Svenska Handelsbanken is one of the most profitable banks in the region and remains the best bank. Its profits after tax grew by 11% to SKr8.1 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2003. Handelsbanken Markets, its investment bank, doubled profits to SKr1,009 million.

Assets rose to SKr1,316 billion and loan losses were kept low. The bank had a higher return on equity than its peers, rising to 14.9%. With a cost/income ratio of 46.5%, Handelsbanken is the region?s most cost-effective bank. In March, Moody?s upgraded its long-term credit rating to Aa1 from Aa2.

Danske Bank and Nordea are the largest banking groups by assets, but Nordea still needs to cut costs and rationalize. Danske?s cost/income ratio has improved but it is higher than Handelsbanken?s at 55%. In April, Moody?s upgraded Danske?s long-term rating from Aa2 to Aa1.

Both SEB and Swedbank (FöreningsSparbanken) have strong operations in Sweden and a presence in all the Baltic markets.

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