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Awards for Excellence 2021

About the Awards for Excellence

Euromoney's Awards for Excellence are the awards that matter to the banks and bankers who matter. They were established in 1992 and were the first of their kind in the global banking industry. This year we received a record number of pitches for the Country and Regional Awards for Excellence - more than 1,000.

Euromoney's Global Awards for Excellence 2021 were announced on September 10.

Global
Africa
Asia
CEE
LATAM
MIDEAST
N. America
W. Europe

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Global Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

  • Under chief executive Bolaji Balogun, Chapel Hill Denham has become Nigeria’s preeminent independent investment bank, rivalling Standard Bank’s Stanbic IBTC for dominance. Its leadership is most evident on the advisory side, where it’s the go-to house in Africa’s biggest economy.
  • Standard Bank is once again a worthy winner of the award for Africa’s best bank for wealth management. It offers wealth management services in southern, eastern and parts of western Africa – 15 countries in all, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
  • Access Bank sets the digital agenda for banking in Africa. It has been a long journey to this award, a process accelerated by the 2019-approved merger with Diamond Bank, but it has been worth it. The Lagos-headquartered bank compares itself, not to its regional peers, but to the best internationally, such as the UK’s Monzo. At the end of March 2021, it had 9.8 million digital customers and reckons it is adding 500,000 new users each month.
  • East African banks have led the way in SME financing in Africa and none more so than Equity Bank. Nigerian banks often struggle to get to a double-digit percentage allocation of their loan books to SMEs. That’s partly due to a less diversified, oil-dependent economy. But even by east African standards, Equity Bank is impressive. Most of its loan book (54%) is with SME clients.
  • During Covid-19, providing support to more vulnerable sections of society has been more important than ever. Whether it’s distributing sanitary equipment or providing retailer vouchers through digital means, Kenya Commercial Bank’s KCB Foundation has stepped up to that challenge. This help, moreover, has come on the back of older initiatives that the foundation has developed over time.
  • At a time when sustainability issues are rising in importance for all South African banks, Nedbank has led the way in terms of its commitment to environment, social and governance goals. This green agenda is vital in a country that is prone to drought, is Africa’s biggest polluter, heavily reliant on coal for its electricity and in desperate need of a rapid increase in its power generation capacity.
  • Absa’s greater determination to put its money where its mouth is in Africa, after its separation from Barclays, is well known. Even in South Africa, where many of its peers have struggled during the Covid crisis, it continued to grow its corporate loan book under corporate and investment banking chief executive Charles Russon in 2020. But Absa’s preeminence as an African financing house goes well beyond its ability to deploy its balance sheet – and way beyond South Africa.
  • Regional banks in Africa are developing internationally orientated and increasingly sophisticated transaction services platforms; often, as at Equity Bank, to service corporate and small and medium-sized enterprise clients trading across borders. Ecobank, meanwhile, is bolstering its business with partnerships including part-owners Qatar National Bank and Nedbank, as well as with regional telecoms companies and payments firms like Flutterwave.

Country Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

  • Morgan Stanley retains the advisory award after leading the field in Asia Pacific by volume, deal count and regional diversity. Dieter Turowski is chairman, investment banking at Morgan Stanley Asia Limited.
  • Transaction services was affected by the pandemic in two significant ways. One was on the cash management side, where there was a forced acceleration of digital initiatives and of their take-up by corporate clients. That was interesting, but by and large it was happening anyway.
  • DBS’s digital capability was tested to the core by Covid, and it not only stepped up but turned the situation to its advantage. From consumer to institutional, DBS used the opportunity to convert clients to digital channels, benefiting from improved economics as it did so. Before long the government was counting on the bank to disburse emergency payments to those under stress.
  • This category highlights the range of different themes through which banks do responsible work and this year we look at Citi’s efforts with youth in the region. Youth unemployment is already a serious problem in Asia and the pandemic made it a whole lot worse. Citi’s focus on the issue deserves recognition.
  • Numbers don’t tell you everything, but sometimes they shout pretty loud. Apac profits for UBS Global Wealth Management grew from $560 million in 2019 to $1.1 billion in 2020; a near doubling of profitability in the middle of a pandemic. Along the way invested assets in the region passed the $500 billion mark for the first time, hitting $560 billion by the end of the year, with $25 billion of net new money.
  • When Covid began to close in on southeast Asia in 2020, UOB didn’t wait. In February 2020, before any government support and before much of the west had even acknowledged there was a virus to worry about, UOB announced S$3 billion of relief assistance to SME clients.
  • The financing category offers us three models to consider. Firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley show greater strength in equity than debt. Others, notably Credit Suisse and Deutsche, do interesting and creative things in the debt markets, sometimes with careful use of the balance sheet, but tend to appear less in league tables.
  • Despite strong showings from peers including BNP Paribas and Citi, HSBC’s strength in sustainable finance is deep rooted and hard to match. Jonathan Drew’s team lifts this award for the fourth consecutive year.

Country Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

Country Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

  • BAC International Bank is simply the biggest and most profitable bank in central America and the Caribbean. Across the region it has 311 full service branches, 11 in-store branches, eight digital branches and 43 drive-through agencies – and it also has the largest ATM network, with more than 2,000.
  • It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that no other investment bank can operate across the central America and Caribbean region like Citi. With its history and presence, the US bank seems to have a stranglehold on deal flow from the region and Citi’s investment banking team, led by Caribbean and central America cluster head Marcelo Gorrini, has been dominant in the awards period.
  • BAC International Bank has been serious about corporate responsibility for many years. In February this year the bank joined the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, complementing its longstanding commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. BAC has now reached over one million people in central America with its financial education programme and has supported over 120,000 SMEs throughout the region with training, development and network initiatives.
  • Evaluating wealth management capabilities between banks isn’t straightforward because so much of the service verges on the intangible. However, this year there was a hard number that seemed solid enough on which to base the decision. Between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021 XP Private grew its assets under custody by 263% to R$240 billion.
  • Santander, under the leadership of its group chief executive Jose Antonio Álvarez, was the first international bank to really focus on the small and medium-sized enterprise segment across the markets in which it operates.
  • In terms of deal volume, during the qualification period for these awards there was little daylight between the top two banks, Citi and JPMorgan, in debt financing. However, Citi pipped its US rival this year for being the bank that reopened the region for debt financing after the Covid-19 deep freeze.
  • Banco Pan’s unlikely transformation into a force in digital retail banking in Brazil began in 2010 with a $1.4 billion accounting fraud. The owner, Silvio Santos, a well-known media figure in Brazil, was forced to offload the bank (then called Banco Panamericano and specializing in car financing) to a partnership of state-owned Caixa Economica and investment bank BTG Pactual.
  • In February 2020 BofA Securities reorganized its corporate and investment banking teams in Latin America, with Augusto Urmeneta becoming head of corporate and investment banking. At that time Hans Lin, head of Brazil investment banking – a key market for the bank and one in which it has excelled – joined the bank’s global private capital council. Meanwhile Bruno Saraiva was named co-head of Brazil investment banking alongside Lin, who remains in charge of the ECM team.
  • ESG has surged in importance as a financing theme in Latin America over the past 12 months. Financial institutions of all sizes and types have been scrambling to emphasize how the components of ESG are now core to business strategy. It’s often hard to see through the messaging, but that’s not the case with Santander. The bank is truly a leader in embedding sustainable finance in the business. Its group executive chairman Ana Botín has championed the bank’s net-zero carbon ambitions, but it’s under the leadership of Santander’s group chief executive, Jose Antonio Álvarez, that the bank has become a sustainability leader in Latin America.
  • Nubank, Latin America’s best digital bank, is still very much in growth mode. Over the past year it has further built out from its credit card origins; current accounts have been added and the bank has acquired online investment platform Easynvest.
  • In 2020 Citi added 11 new countries in Latin America to its digital onboarding platform, which now stands at 47 countries globally. Its global platform enables the US bank to provide unrivalled geographical breadth in its digitization efforts. Not only can the bank be more efficient itself – rolling out central innovations globally – but it also enables its multinational client list to embrace digital banking in most of the markets in which it operates.

Country Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

  • First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) again takes the award for the Middle East’s best bank for financing. Under its head of global corporate finance, Andy Cairns, the Abu Dhabi-based lender led the way in MENA, completing $4.75 billion worth of loans – more than any of its rivals, local or global – for a 19% share of the market. It was the key regional player in ECM and debt capital markets in the awards period, demonstrating again why it is so strong in this category.
  • Citi wins this award in part because it was so successful in securing a role for itself in the region’s big Spac deals. The US bank completed 11 M&A transactions in the year to the end of March 2021, worth a total of $53.3 billion, according to Dealogic data, for a 37% market share.
  • It was yet another impressive year for HSBC in sustainable finance. At a global level the bank is committed to net-zero on carbon emissions. At a regional level it has a team of 39 staff, led by its head of sustainability, Europe and the Middle East, Sabrin Rahman. They engage with clients on ESG, sustainable finance and transition strategies.
  • No other wealth manager comes close to competing with UBS for this award. Again, the Swiss banking giant demonstrated its commitment to the region. During the awards period, it relocated its Dubai office to the heart of the Emirate’s financial district and opened a new wealth management office in Doha. UBS aims to hire about 20 people in Qatar by the end of 2020, but it has already made its biggest personnel move, bringing Tarek Eido from HSBC to oversee its onshore wealth business. Eido will report to head of wealth management, Middle East and Africa, Ali Janoudi.
  • HSBC retains the award for best bank for transaction services for the third straight year thanks to its ability to adapt to the pandemic and the rapidly changing needs of regulators and its customers. In the Middle East that means being there when it matters. The bank processed $552 billion in payments and $54 billion in trade for 15,000-plus clients last year.
  • No regional lender comes close to competing with Mashreq Bank for the best digital bank award. Under group chief executive Ahmed Abdelaal and head of corporate and investment banking Joel Van Dusen, the Dubai-based lender has become not just a powerhouse in digital but a leader too. It continues to invest heavily in blockchain. Its Trade Tracker platform allows corporates to track all transactions in real time and to view them all in a single window. TradeFursaa sucks in data from the bank’s business lines, then uses AI and big data to identify opportunities for traders and exporters.
  • Riyad Bank’s transformation into the region’s best bank for small and medium-sized enterprises coincides with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plans to diversify away from oil and towards tourism, manufacturing, clean energy and logistics. SMEs are one of the key planks not only of Riyad Bank chief executive Tareq Al Sadhan’s business strategy but also for Vision 2030. The kingdom has a longstanding aim of boosting the share of loans allocated to smaller firms to 20% by the end of the decade, against 2% in 2015.
  • Corporate responsibility is at the heart of what National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) does. It is hard to find worthy projects, causes and charities that the Manama-based lender is not involved in funding and furthering.

Country Awards

The US's Best Bank

Canada's Best Bank

The US's Best Investment Bank

Canada's Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

Best Bank

Best Investment Bank

Regional Awards

Country Awards

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Euromoney's Regional and Country Awards for Excellence 2021 were announced on July 14 and appear in the July/August issue of Euromoney magazine. The Global Awards were announced on September 10 and appear in the September issue.
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