Awards for Excellence 2008: Japan
Best bank: SMFG
Best equity house and Best M&A house: JPMorgan
Best debt house: Nikko Citigroup
In most countries in Asia the larger local banks tend to dominate Euromoney’s best bank awards but it has been some years since that happened in Japan. Choosing a best bank in Japan has been a tricky business for some time. The three megabanks have had well-documented problems with weak balance sheets, unadventurous managers and poorly diversified strategies for the past decade. This year, two things have changed: the megabanks are in strong positions relative to their global peer group for once, and some of the smaller, more dynamic players, such as Shinsei, have been struggling.
That’s not to say that everything’s going the way of the big three. Mizuho Financial Group made headlines with its corporate banking subsidiary’s financial investment in Merrill Lynch but it was also hardest hit by investments in sub-prime-related securities and has had to pump capital into the wounded Mizuho Securities.