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BEST BANK: Shinsei Bank
BEST EQUITY HOUSE: Nomura Securities
BEST DEBT HOUSE: Mizuho Securities
BEST M&A HOUSE: Morgan Stanley

When it won the best bank in Japan award in 2004, Shinsei Bank was commended for leading the reform of the turgid Japanese banking sector. It is an indication of Shinsei’s continued commitment to that programme and an indictment of its rivals’ lethargy that the same bank wins in 2006.

Shinsei has been doubling its revenues every two years since it was taken over by a consortium led by US private equity firm Ripplewood in 2001, and has successfully made customer satisfaction a priority by providing free 24-hour cashpoint and net access, a large number of well-crafted investment products and the opportunity to provide feedback through a 5,000-strong customer panel.

Its latest innovations include a bricks and clicks web initiative that now gets the bank 65% of its customers, a kitsch but eye-catching choose your cash-card’s colour scheme and a real-time risk-aggregating software platform.

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