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Regional award

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  • 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.
  • A barnstorming year in primary equity markets and M&A advisory, combined with consistent and comprehensive debt capital markets coverage, earn Citi the award for the region’s best investment bank.
  • 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.
  • For banks across the world, the coronavirus pandemic created countless new challenges in servicing clients and many sought answers in the acceleration of their digital development. Over a number of years Citi has been working to improve its digital offerings across all its businesses – work that stood it in good stead to help retail and institutional clients tackle the new environment they faced in 2020.
  • 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.
  • Many banks could press strong claims to be western Europe’s best investment bank for the first year of Covid – when all issuers desperately needed financing, corporations and sovereigns sought strategic advice and investors required ideas and liquidity to rapidly adjust market exposures.
  • Sustainable finance is rapidly gaining traction in the Turkish banking sector, with Akbank, Isbank, Vakifbank and Ziraat Bank all issuing ESG-labelled bonds in the year to the end of March.
  • 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.
  • UBS performed strongly again in Euromoney’s global private banking and wealth management survey in 2021. It topped the western Europe regional rankings for: best private banking services overall; serving mega high net-worth clients worth more than $250 million; family offices; business owners; and high net-worth clients with $5 million to $30 million to invest.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A strong hold on the foreign currency and fixed income markets in countries such as Nigeria and Kenya proved a vital asset for Standard Bank over the last 12 months, as South Africa suffered particularly damaging Covid-19 lockdowns. Largely because of this regional investment banking structure, coupled with provisioning for credit losses in South Africa, the group made almost twice as much money in the rest of Africa as it did in South Africa in 2020 – highlighting how much Standard Bank is now a pan-African play for investors.
  • 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.
  • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, UBS’s Americas wealth management unit had more than $1.6 trillion in invested assets, up 34% on the previous year, a record for the firm. In a client satisfaction survey over the 12-month period of these awards, the bank scored 9.6 out of 10, based on 35,000 responses. And the division made a profit of $1.45 billion, another record.
  • For small and medium-sized enterprises the year of Covid presented the same challenges as it did to their bigger corporate cousins, only the scale was different. Sometimes they needed help to survive; at other times they need help to thrive.
  • 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.
  • As well as winning the best bank and best bank for financing awards, BNP Paribas is also western Europe’s best bank for sustainable finance.
  • Not the biggest but the most profitable. That’s the strategy of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and it’s one that – with a return on average equity of 28.5% in 2020 – it is clearly achieving among its banking competitors in its home country Nigeria and also across Africa.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It was the kind of year when solidity and stability mattered above all else, and Emirates NBD had both of those in spades. Under group chief executive Shayne Nelson, the Dubai-based lender is in pole position to benefit from a post-pandemic recovery, as a region of resource-rich nations, governed by ambitious leaders, seeks to diversify away from oil and gas.
  • It’s not often any bank sits above JPMorgan in an important financing league table, but BNP Paribas far outstrips the US bank as a bookrunner both of syndicated loans and of debt capital markets deals for borrowers in western Europe.
  • 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.
  • An unrivalled regional network presence, commitment to innovation and consistent support for clients during the pandemic earn Citi the award for CEE’s best bank for transaction services.
  • It was another stellar period for Morgan Stanley’s financing franchise. The bank’s equity and debt capital markets businesses turned in a strong performance for clients, many of whom were using it to finance deals on which the bank was providing mergers and acquisitions advice. And as it did last year, the firm wins the award for North America’s best bank for financing.
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