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Australia

Best bank
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Best equities house
UBS

Best debt house
Deutsche Bank

Best M&A house
Deutsche Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is not the nation?s largest bank: that is last year?s winner of the best bank award, National Australia Bank. But for improvement in profitability and growth, it is hard to beat CBA. That, coupled with National Australia Bank?s much publicized trading scandal, means that CBA walks off with the award for best bank in Australia.

CBA offers the full range of banking services to the largest customer base of any Australian bank. It has also adopted successfully the bancassurance model ? it is Australia?s third-largest life insurer, the largest manager of local funds and the largest retail fund manager.

CBA?s recent financial performance has been impressive. Net profit doubled in fiscal year 2003, with growth in all areas, most obviously in insurance. CBA has managed its cost base prudently, with its cost to income ratio in the banking division a respectable 50.7%, a meaningful reduction from the previous year. All of this contributed to a decent return on equity of 12.33% and a tier 1 capital adequacy ratio of 7.26%.

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