Citi continues to fire on all cylinders across cash management, trade finance and securities services. It combines scale and market penetration with innovation, and the sense of drive among senior staff in the region is palpable – making it our best bank for transaction services in Asia.
Morgan McKenney, Citi
Citi is among the most technologically adept banks in the region (it was the clearest competitor to DBS for the digital award in Asia this year) and this shines through in the cash and trade categories. Many of the bank’s APIs in 2016 – partnerships with other members of the e-commerce ecosystem, for example – are chiefly about cash and payables.
Over the last year, Citi’s e-commerce flows in Asia have increased by 17% year on year in terms of revenues and 49% in terms of the pipeline. This is through a combination of traditional clients and newer sources.
The bank relishes complexity as an opportunity to prove itself, and this was nowhere more evident than in 70% year-on-year growth in China cross-border structures in 2016. With clients confused about policy and regulatory change, Citi jumped in to provide solutions to treasurers.
Trade finance obviously benefits from Asia being Citi’s largest operation outside the US, with 16 countries active. Citi grew 10% in intra-Asia flows last year and projects 15% growth in 2017. It targets particular trade corridors, not all of them obvious (Korea-Vietnam, for one). Trade finance revenues were up 8% quarter on quarter in the first quarter of 2017.
It is telling that Citi’s new CitiConnect for Blockchain connectivity bridge, which links Nasdaq’s Linq Blockchain platform for private-market securities to Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) infrastructure, has been led by Hong Kong-based Apac cash management head Morgan McKenney. Asia is a driver of Citi’s technical innovation worldwide and this is nowhere more true than TTS.