Awards for Excellence 2008: Sweden
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Awards for Excellence 2008: Sweden

Best bank: SEB 

Best debt house: Citi 

Best equity house: Deutsche Bank 

Best M&A house: SEB Enskilda

Nordea remains the market leader in Sweden, with assets not far off those of second- and third-placed SEB and Handelsbanken combined. But SEB had the better year, with assets increasing by 21.2%, operating profit up by 9%, net profit 8% higher and return on equity of 19.3%. Moreover, despite a poor share performance in 2007 – in line with almost all banks globally – compound five-year growth in total shareholders’ equity is 10.76%: higher than Nordea’s 7.58%.

SEB’s secret lies in its mix of businesses. Retail banking, wealth management and life insurance all delivered record results and double-digit profit growth. In retail banking, SEB has been careful to control credit growth in the Baltic countries since 2006 – quarterly credit growth was more than halved during 2007 – a view that has been vindicated by evidence of serious macroeconomic imbalances.

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