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Regional award

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  • BNP Paribas’s sustainability strategy for Latin America continues to mature, underpinning the bank’s strong position across the continent. The bank has made considerable efforts to deepen its focus on the three most important sustainability issues in Latin America: protecting biodiversity, promoting social development and decarbonizing hard-to-abate industries.
  • Latin America saw increased interest from many different types of acquirers in the past year as volatility elsewhere boosted the relative attractiveness of the region’s economic, legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • If an organization in Latin America – corporate, sovereign or multilateral – wants to raise finance, Citi will invariably be part of the conversation. The bank’s financing team, led by Adrian Guzzoni, head of debt capital markets for Latin America, and Marcelo Millen, head of equity capital markets for Latin America, has shown that Citi’s ability to access local and international sources of funding and to present options spanning debt, loans and equity is a compelling proposition for finance departments across the region.
  • Banco Pichincha has been developing several strategies to boost social inclusion and improve gender dynamics in Ecuador. The bank now has an impressive portfolio of projects that fit under the corporate responsibility banner.
  • This year’s winner of the award for Latin America’s best digital bank, Davivienda, has not just adopted the digital channels of new startup rivals but has gone further. The bank has embraced digital banking, blockchain adaptation, artificial intelligence and the metaverse. The result is an intriguing and compelling mix of upgraded old-bank processes through digital infrastructure and completely new business opportunities.
  • It is tempting to conclude that Citi’s impressive suite of treasury management services, for which it wins the award of Latin America’s best bank for transaction services, is the result of the bank knowing that it really needs to excel in this area. Given the growth strategy being pursued by chief executive Jane Fraser, which has seen the bank pull out of many retail banking markets to focus on corporate and investment banking, a market-leading transaction services offering is imperative.
  • The retrenchment that Citi has made in the retail markets of central America has clearly not impacted its dominance of corporate and investment banking in the region. It wins the award for central America’s best investment bank again this year.
  • There is no better wealth manager in Latin America than Banco Santander. It won the award for best private bank in Latin America in Euromoney’s 2023 private banking awards.
  • Banco Santander’s headquarters are in Europe, but the centre of gravity of its operations has been drifting westward to Latin America for many years now. Over the review period, the bank posted a solid year of progress among many of its Latin American markets, which comprise Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Peru.
  • When financial analysts argue about whether economies of scale exist in cross border retail banking, they simply need to point to BAC International Bank (BAC). Led by Rodolfo Tabash, the bank is a big player in all the regional markets and, while these are small individually, together they total more than 50 million people.
  • It is not much fun being a banker in Argentina. But while it is pretty much universally tough for everyone, spare a thought for individuals like Juan Parma, HSBC’s chief executive Argentina and head of wealth and personal banking America. Because, while Parma’s peers in Argentine banks face many of the same challenges he does, at least for them the whole organization is still focused on the country. HSBC’s global leadership could be forgiven for skipping over the country in global strategy meetings.
  • BofA Securities retains the award for Latin America’s best investment bank. Last year, the team, led by Alexandre Bettamio, co-head of global investment banking, and Augusto Urmeneta, president for Latin America and head of Latin America Investment banking, claimed the award for a strong regional performance. This year BofA went even further and took the country awards for Colombia, Peru and Brazil. The latter is easily the most important investment banking market in the region.
  • Government clients and the reduced presence of international banks are typical features of finance in central and eastern Europe, and M&A is no exception. But the region is not beyond the reach of JPMorgan, central and eastern Europe’s best bank for advisory.
  • Under chief executive Hakan Binbasgil, Akbank demonstrated an innovative and proactive approach to small and medium-sized enterprise banking during the awards period, despite the difficult operating environment in its home market of Turkey.
  • Despite the war in Ukraine, the past year has seen UniCredit operating with more of the purpose and commitment that international banks in central and eastern Europe too often lack.
  • Last year, ING was the first bank in central and eastern Europe to stop providing dedicated finance to new upstream oil and gas fields, despite the fact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened energy supply on the continent. The Dutch lender remains the bank of choice for green or sustainability labelled deals in the region.
  • With the war in Ukraine adding to global volatility in capital markets, investment banking deal flow was weak in central and eastern Europe during 2022 and early 2023, especially for lower-rated names.
  • Good perceptions of corporate social responsibility have become ever more important for banks in central and eastern Europe since the start of the war in Ukraine.
  • The past year has seen Societe Generale play a crucial role in central and eastern Europe’s financing markets, led by Philippe Madar, head of corporate coverage for Europe. It is top of Dealogic’s mandated lead arranger rankings for regional syndicated loans in the awards period. Its market share in loans was almost twice as high as the next ranked bank, and it was also involved in some of the key bond deals during the awards period.
  • Wealth management across central and eastern Europe is still in a state of flux, nearly 18 months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In that period, some lenders have pulled back from specific markets in the region; others have sought ways to cut costs by reducing their roster of senior private bankers.
  • UniCredit has long been regarded as a leader in corporate banking in central and eastern Europe. Transaction services continues to be a vital part of this regional franchise under Riccardo Madinelli, head of transactions and payments for central and eastern Europe.
  • Even rivals recognize that OTP Bank has advanced strongly in digital banking recently, ensuring that its technology wins and retains customers in Hungary and across central and eastern Europe.
  • Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is a worthy winner of this award. At the heart of the bank’s philanthropic efforts is its BPI Foundation, which touches the lives of more than one million financially under-served Filipinos in 75 of the country’s 81 provinces.
  • There is perhaps no other digital bank anywhere in the world like kakaobank. Many pure-play digital banks seem to have an in-built ceiling: at a specific point, organizational flaws appear, they cease adding new customers and start to appear more dysfunctional than disruptor.
  • Football clubs undergoing a period of transition often talk of needing a transfer window or two to get where they need to be. More often than not, this doesn’t work. Better-run teams continue to make clear-minded decisions that keep them ahead of the pack. Catching up is always hard to do.
  • It was ultra-competitive at the top of the M&A league tables in the review period. Goldman Sachs wins the award for Asia’s best bank for advisory this year because it was there on most of the big mergers and acquisitions. The bank advised on 76 deals in Asia Pacific in the 12 months to the end of March 2023, worth a total of $181.9 billion, according to Dealogic, for a 16.87% share of the market.
  • Citi takes everything it does seriously, but there is a special place in its collective consciousness for transaction services. This often-sprawling area of financial services, which chief executive Jane Fraser calls the crown jewel of the bank, is the beating heart of all Citi stands for.
  • Singapore is Asia’s leading private banking hub – and at the heart of that story is DBS, a bank that has remade itself over the past decade and a half into one of the world’s best wealth managers.
  • UOB is as committed as ever to serving small and medium-sized enterprises in its home base of Singapore – where it reckons it banks one of every two SMEs – as it is to clients in key markets across the region. From mid-sized corporates on the fringes of requiring capital markets services, to micro-enterprises, clients have come to rely on it for funding, financial advice and best-in-class banking services.
  • Morgan Stanley is a powerhouse in financing. In Asia Pacific ex-China, the US bank helped to complete 42 equity capital markets deals – more than any other bank over the 12 months to the end of March 2023 – worth a total of $5.4 billion, according to Dealogic. And in debt capital markets, it completed 419 deals worth $46.2 billion.