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15th Best FI Awards 2021
2 July 2021: This is Alpha Southeast Asia’s 15th Annual Financial Institution (FI) Awards. This year, we have tightened the focus of this awards series in each country by expanding the breadth and depth of this evolving awards series. The awards period cover deals and transaction volumes from June 2020 to May 2021.
For the twelfth year running, we have continued to examine the credentials and track record of a select group of Asian financial institutions and as part of this effort, announce the outcome of our special Marquee awards including; Best SME Bank in Southeast Asia; Best Broker in Southeast Asia; Best Private Bank in Southeast Asia; as well as well as Best Transactional Banking Online Platform.
In almost every category and unlike most mainstream financial magazines, the winners are not necessarily the biggest banks by asset size but awarded on the basis of performance and growth over the past one year. Also, all fifty-eight awards are exclusively and categorically open to only locally incorporated banks and financial institutions or banks headquartered in Southeast Asia. Local banks that are, able to demonstrate unrivalled commitment to both, local corporate and non-banking financial institution clients as well as state-linked agencies and departments not only within their borders but in some cases, within Southeast Asia.
Some of the key surprises over the last decade include the emergence of Asian-domiciled banks at the top of the equity, debt and M&A league tables across the region as bulge bracket global investment banks were forced to recalibrate their presence in key markets across Asia, since the onset of the credit crisis in 2007 and emergence of Covid-19 in late 2019.
|INDONESIA||Bank Central Asia|
As one of the most innovative and quick moving banks in the country, Bank Central Asia has come a long way over the last decade. The bank today serves tens of million’ in a country with a fundamentally strong economy, a sound political environment and a booming domestic consumption market for both, Indonesian and foreign goods and services. Capitalising on the economic growth is none other than the largest bank in the country by asset size, earning assets and deposit size, a clear testament of the confidence retail customers and corporate & commercial customers have in the bank that has strategically benchmarked its growth along with the country’s economic growth and GDP. Therefore, the award goes to Bank Central Asia.
Over the last fourteen years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, if there is one benchmark investors use to judge banks, it has to do with balance sheet strength. Public Bank easily epitomises how far a bank would go to stick to what it does best: plain vanilla bank lending and being there for its customers however intense the competition. While most other Malaysian banks are increasingly looking at markets beyond Malaysia, Public Bank continues to entrench its heels deeper and strengthen its local market position year after year, making the bank the most reliable, secure and strongest bank in the country by a wide margin, thanks to strong growth in loans and core customer deposits as well as its stable asset quality, keeping this award within the bank for the fifteenth consecutive year.
Despite the severe impact of the ongoing pandemic on the wider economy, BDO, thanks to its resilient operations and driven primarily by its core businesses, is today the best bank in the Philippines. It has achieved market leadership across a number of important business lines on a strengthened business franchise, and this has led to an increase in the bank’s overall market share. Given the global economic slowdown, the resilience of the local economy has helped banks like BDO maintained its market share. While underlying profitability has taken a hit, it remains the bank of choice for corporate, commercial and retail customers, winning this award for the tenth time in the last 15 years.
If we had to name a bank that could grow quicker through M&As but has proven how best to organically grow its regional footprint with enviable shareholder returns to match, DBS Bank would appear at the top of this list. The bank however has proven how it is not satisfied being the largest and strongest bank in Singapore, which serves as a launching pad for many companies with business interests in the Asia. Therefore the bank has today built a large, sustainable banking platform across Asia both, organically and through acquisitions. In terms of market capitalisation, the bank ranks in the low forties in the world today given its balance sheet strength, product depth as well as dominant market share, unfailingly indicating how the bank will continue for the tenth consecutive year to trail-blaze its way to the top, regardless of mounting local, regional and global competition.
As one of the largest, most dynamic banks in the country, Bangkok Bank is a leading financing partner for small to large businesses in the country. The bank is today a leading transactional banking player from the retail level all the way up to the corporate level. The bank also has a strong, growing network across the country and has taken its retail banking business just as seriously as its other businesses. In Thailand, Bangkok Bank has one of the strongest balance sheets among banks in the country and by whichever metric the bank is judged against, it emerges at the top of its league. With the ongoing pandemic and its debilitating impact on the wider economy, SMEs, Corporates, MNCs and retail customers need a bank that has the balance sheet strength unlike another.
Following years of industry-wide banking restructuring and consolidation, Vietcombank is fast emerging as a bank of choice not only among corporate and treasury clients but increasingly, retail customers spread across Vietnam today. With a strong balance sheet and a simple unyielding focus on the lending business, the bank is one of the most profitable banks in the country today. In almost every metric measured against, Vietcombank excels including key financial ratios such as pre- and post-tax profits, the NPL ratio, provisioning, ROE, CAR, and NIM as well as total assets, total loans, total deposits and total branch numbers, making the bank one of the best benchmarks for the Vietnam economy today, winning this award for the fifth consecutive year.
BEST SME BANK
|INDONESIA||Bank OCBC NISP|
As one of the most innovative and quick moving banks in the country, Bank OCBC NISP has come a long way over the last decade. The bank today serves millions in a country with a fundamentally strong economy, a sound political environment and a booming domestic consumption market for both, Indonesian and foreign goods and services. Capitalising on the economic growth is none other than one of the most agile banks in the country. On the SME front, it leads by asset size, earning assets and deposit size, a clear testament of the confidence SME clients have in the bank that has strategically benchmarked its growth along with the country’s economic growth and GDP. Therefore, the award for Best SME Bank in Indonesia goes to Bank OCBC NISP, for the third consecutive year.
The SME business segment is a major driver of the country’s economy and constitutes a substantial part of Maybank’s main commercial loan to its customers. The bank also actively promotes competitive loan products including those which provide an avenue for SMEs to seek low interest rate financial assistance, originated by the Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) that provide for guarantee cover by CGC without any guarantee fees charged to the SMEs. The bank’ main proposition centres around convenience and serving the needs of the community, including individuals, SME and commercial customers and therein lies its secret that has made Maybank a preferred banking partner among SMEs in the country.
|PHILIPPINES||BPI Family Savings Bank|
What makes the bank unique is the fact that not only are SMEs across the Philippines served at the business centers located inside select number of bank branches but all bank branches across the country are today equipped with the knowledge and expertise of serving the needs of SMEs, however large or small. As a result of the bank’s aggressive enhancement of processes, structural changes, product innovation, and communication strategy, the bank’s market penetration of the MSME sector has continued to rise year after year. For its unique commitment in helping SMEs grow and transform into tomorrow’s blue chips, the award for Best SME Bank in the Philippines goes to BPI Family Savings Bank, winning the award for the eighth time in 15 years.
In the current era of fast-paced digital banking, OCBC Bank (OCBC) stands out from the crowd. Not has the bank meticulously managed to enlarge its SME footprint, OCBC remains uniquely committed to servicing SMEs both with local and cross-border financing needs. The bank has one of the widest variety of credit products and provides far reaching and practical advisory services for its borrowing and non-borrowing customers. OCBC also remains one of the few banks in Asia that will not hesitate to invest in both manpower skills and technological upgrades or anything that enhances internal processes and produces positive structural changes, all the while listening closely to what SMEs need, however divergent. With an entrenched market share that has continued to grow as it expands its pan-Asian network with global reach, OCBC Bank is likely to remain the Best SME Bank for a number of years to come, having won this award category for ninth consecutive years, thus far.
|THAILAND||Siam Commercial Bank|
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is growing from strength to strength. The bank today has one of the most powerful SME platforms in the country, thanks to the complacency of key players in this segment. Apart from the normal range of credit products developed specifically for SMEs, SCB provides wide ranging advisory services on business opportunities and trade reports for its borrowing and non-borrowing customers. At present, it also offers working capital loans, various forms of credit lines, trade finance and remittance, collection and payment, insurance and foreign exchange services to a large number of Thai SME businesses. Therefore, the award for the Best SME Bank in Thailand goes to Siam Commercial Bank for its focused and unrivalled commitment to this important segment, winning this award for the eighth time in the last 15 years.
As one of the strongest banks in the country, BIDV is continuing to ride a wave of growth thanks to its sprawling domestic branch network and proactive relationship management skills with the country’s growing number of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). While most banks are product-focused and operate with silos concerned about their own contribution to the bank’s overall bottom line, BIDV is today one of the most fast-moving, dynamic banks in Vietnam, in spite of its size. As one of the largest banks in terms of loans, assets and deposits, BIDV is acutely aware of its strengths and has ingeniously channelled the right amount of resources towards helping SMEs expand overseas and gradually make a name for itself in this segment, winning this award for the fourth consecutive year.
BEST BOND HOUSE
IndoPremier Sekuritas had one of its best years on record yet again during the most recent awards period as well as over the last ten years when viewed in perspective. According to figures on Bloomberg, it was the largest debt underwriter in Indonesia over the last twelve-month period, representing a significant achievement, making it truly the most committed players in the Indonesian bond market space. Over the years, the bond house has also built a unique distribution platform among pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and banks and has taken part in a number of notable transactions. Unlike most bond houses however, IndoPremier Sekuritas is not only the largest corporate bond market underwriter in the country, the leading fixed income player is also a market leader in the area of secondary market bonds trading as well, winning this award for the fourth consecutive year.
|MALAYSIA||Maybank Investment Bank|
In 2020-2021, Maybank Investment Bank successfully reclaimed pole position in the Malaysian bond market in terms of amount raised during the awards period. Ranked number one in MYR Sukuk and MYR Bonds, both by volume and number of issues, Maybank Investment Bank was able to deliver landmark transactions which created and raised industry benchmarks, while helping clients during what was no doubt a very challenging and volatile period – a testament of its position as the preferred debt house by Malaysian issuers. From Sime Darby’s MYR800 million SRI Sukuk to TNB’s MYR3 billion Sukuk and the digitally innovative Malaysia Government’s MYR666 Sukuk Prihatin which was sole led by Maybank, the leading bond house has demonstrated it deep-seated relationships and capabilities are at benchmarks itself, thus winning this fiercely contested award for the fifth time in 15 years.
|PHILIPPINES||China Bank Capital Corporation|
Following the re-emergence of the Philippines on the radar of foreign institutional investors in recent years, the landscape of bond underwriters has also widened and a number of bank-backed players have continued to make their mark in the local currency fixed income space. One such player is China Bank Capital that has found itself ranked in the top quartile for the past three years clinching its way to the top of various local currency league tables, successfully completing key notable issues in a decade when markets were at best volatile. Over the last few years, it has continued to aggressively build up its profile among leading credits in the Philippines and successfully closed a growing number of notable transactions, winning the award for the third consecutive year.
DBS Bank is both, a leading market maker and dealer in SGD government, statutory board and corporate bonds. DBS is also the only bank to have completed a bond issue for every Statutory Board (i.e., HDB, JTC, LTA, PUB and IRAS) that has issued in the SGD bond market. According to Bloomberg, DBS has been ranked the top bookrunner of SGD bonds over the last thirteen years beating the likes of foreign banks active in the local bond market. In fact, DBS has been consistently ranked the top bookrunner of SGD bonds since 1999. Despite enduring what is shaping up to be a very challenging year, DBS has maintained its leadership position winning this award for fourteen out of 15 years, a clear indication how corporate Asia views DBS, and why competition continues to pale in comparison.
Kasikornbank is a top-tier debt underwriter both in quantitative and qualitative terms. With a dominant market share, Kasikornbank has successfully placed a large amount of USD equivalent Thai baht issues with both institutional and retail investor, generating strong demand and playing a key role in developing optimal pricing for all parties involved. With an unrivalled retail placement capability, the leading bond house is able to meet funding demands, large and small through its intricately built system benefiting both Thailand-based credits as well as local and foreign investors, The fact that the bank primarily focuses on local investors, both institutional and retail, also make Kasikornbank the most reliable partner in the local debt market today among local and foreign corporate treasurers and CFOs in Thailand.
|VIETNAM||VPS Securities (VPS)|
Established in 2006, VPBank Securities is among the largest, most connected securities firms in Vietnam today. With total assets of over US$300 million and charter capital of over US$82 million, VPBank Securities is owned by VPBank, one of the largest commercial banks in Vietnam with total assets in billions. In recent years, VPBank Securities has built up an extensive track record in bond issuance advisory. VPBank Securities is however not only active in the primary bond market but increasingly active in the government-led secondary bond market as well and while its rankings have changed over the years, VPBank Securities has also maintained its pole position among the top three players in the emerging local currency bond market in Vietnam, winning this award for the fifth time in 15 years.
BEST EQUITY HOUSE
|MALAYSIA||Maybank Investment Bank|
During the awards period, Maybank Investment Bank dominated the Malaysian equity capital markets in Malaysia with a 19.6% market share. The leading equity house was involved in the bulk of the most notable Malaysian ECM deals during the last twelve months, listing some of the well-received public offerings on Bursa Malaysia. In recent years, Maybank Investment Bank has successfully raised tens of billions. From MR.DIY’s MYR1.506.4 million IPO, that continues to outperform to MISC’s secondary placement, the largest ever transportation and REIT follow-on offering in Malaysia, Maybank Investment Bank has continued to outdo competition in every way possible, from pricing to launch. Considering the pipeline of equity offerings to be launched in the second half of 2021, it appears plans are well underway to keep this award firmly within the bank.
|PHILIPPINES||BDO Capital & Investment Corp|
As one of the leading investment banks in the country, BDO Capital & Investment Corp has one of the most powerful equity market distribution platforms in the Philippines today. During the awards period, the leading equity house successfully concluded a variety of deals, demonstrating diversity of its client base and skillsets. The issuers range from small, medium to very large companies coming from divergent industries. With the Philippines firmly back on the radar of international investors and the PSE rising year-on-year, economic fundamentals remain strong despite the current market upheaval globally. Given such, the leading equity house is likely to maintain its market share which is so far showing no signs of slowing down, much to the disappointment of its closest competitors in the country, winning this award six times in the last 15 years.
DBS has consistently ranked as a top local player for equity issuances in Singapore over the last ten years. During this period, DBS also stood out by sponsoring the largest number of equity deals on the SGX, with a dominant market share of IPOs and REIT equity issuances in Singapore. During the awards period, the leading equity house lead/joint-lead managed a large number of equity issuances – comprising IPOs, rights issue, placements and secondary offerings. DBS also stood out by advising and lead managing the largest number and largest value of equity deals on the SGX, reinforcing its position as the pioneering market leader of the Singapore equity market, demonstrating DBS Bank’ unique distribution capabilities, which has reinforced the bank’s hold on this accolade for the fifteenth consecutive year.
Although most Thailand-based companies had a very challenging operating environment to deal with over the past year, Bualuang Securities has managed to outdo its local and regional rivals in the equity funding business and strengthened its relationships through a number of innovative transactions it was mandated for, during the awards period. Over the past few years, the leading investment bank and equity house has completed some of the largest, most notable equity related issues out of Thailand making the leading equity powerhouse the most multi-faceted investment banks in the country, helping raise billions in grand total for its client through IPOs, rights offering and private placements, edging its way to the top of the league table and retaining the illustrious position of being the leading equity house in Thailand, winning this award five times in the last 15 years.
|VIETNAM||SSI Securities (SSI)|
As one of the leading corporate finance houses in the country, SSI Securities (SSI) has managed to make a name for itself by participating in unique transactions that other banks shy away from. SSI was the sole adviser to Petrolimex’s US$88.6 million sale of treasury shares, Co-Bookrunner to Dat Xanh Services US$100 million IPO and a series of small to midcap equity issuances during the awards period. In the equity space therefore, SSI continues to dominate, making SSI one of the most well-rounded, dynamic corporate finance houses and equity house in Vietnam, winning this award seven times out of the last 14 years.
BEST INVESTMENT BANK
|INDONESIA||BRI Danareksa Securitas|
As one of the most well-staffed, highly experienced investment banking houses in the country, BRI Danareksa Sekuritas has retained its position as a leading investment bank of choice among issuers and fixed income credits in Indonesia. For almost a decade now, the investment bank has evolved and adapted to fast moving developments in the Indonesian financial markets by playing a key role in advising clients small and large. Not only has BRI Danareksa Sekuritas maintained that reputation by being a key player in the debt arena but over the past decade, it has also been investing heavily in its equity research, trading and distribution infrastructure and today boasts one of the strongest equity and M&A advisory platforms in the country, winning this award for the eighth time in 15 years.
|MALAYSIA||CIMB Investment Bank|
M&A and corporate finance advisory remains a key pillar at CIMB Investment Bank, much to the chagrin of many local and regional M&A houses in Asia. Not only is the investment bank a powerful force in equity and debt offerings appearing at the top of whichever league table one refers to, M&A advisory remains a niche expertise that appears too strong to beat. During the awards period, CIMB Investment Bank remained at the forefront and was one of the most active investment banks in the M&A space. While it excels in Malaysia but due to its enlarging footprint beyond Southeast Asia, the bank today has the most powerful all-round platform regardless of who it represents i.e., buyer, seller or even the minority shareholders in between, in Malaysia or overseas, winning this award thirteen times in the last 15 years.
|PHILIPPINES||BPI Capital Corporation|
Despite its short operating history, BPI Capital Corporation (BPI Capital) is no doubt the leading investment bank in the Philippines. In the last ten years alone, BPI Capital has helped raised over billions in equity offerings and debt issues for both, government and private institutions either as an issue manager, lead underwriter, arranger, advisor, co-arranger or participating underwriter. Within the realm of M&A, BPI has successfully spearheaded the acquisition of companies large and small. On the equity front, a number of successful issues were launched. Last but not least, exhibiting its innovative skills in fixed income, BPI was also behind some of the rare and most innovative structures in the Philippines, reflecting BPI Capital’s strength in local distribution, its multi-level client and investor platform, winning this award for the third consecutive year.
DBS Bank remains the top choice for many of its corporate and asset management clients, thanks to its proven track record, experienced bankers and product expertise. In Asia, DBS stood out by advising and lead managing the largest number and largest value of equity deals comprising IPOs, placements, rights offerings and preferential offering, raising billions from the Singapore market during the awards period. With an exhaustive list of bonds, equity and M&A deals underwritten by the bank including wide range of innovative and well-priced structures, DBS remains an unrivalled force in capital markets and investment banking in Singapore. On the M&A advisory front, DBS Bank completed notable deals worth billions including Springland International’s HK$4.53 billion buyout, Keppel Corp S$1.9 billion pre-conditional offer for M1 Limited and Keppel Corp’s S$1.1 billion proposed buyout of Keppel T&T during the awards period, cornering an enviable market share the largest among local banks, thus retaining this award for the fifteenth consecutive year.
|THAILAND||Siam Commercial Bank|
Although most Thailand-based companies had a very challenging operating environment to deal with over the past ten years, Siam Commercial Bank has managed to outdo its rivals in the investment banking business and strengthened its relationships through a number of advisory assignments it has been mandated for, during the awards period. Over the years, the leading investment bank has led and completed the largest, most defining equity and corporate finance transactions in Thailand and is today one of the most multi-faceted investment banks in the region. While Siam Commercial Bank’s key strength lies in Thailand, the leading investment bank has proven to be just as capable with regional deals that range from wide-rangingECM transactions as well as with M&A transactions worth billions, among several other transactions that has made Siam Commercial Bank stand out firmly from the rest in Thailand.
As one of the most exciting emerging markets in Southeast Asia, a number of investment banks are today emerging on the financial market landscape in Vietnam. With a solid balance sheet and a track record of deals to match, VPS Securities (VPS) is today a powerful force in investment banking in Vietnam. Over the years, VPS has leveraged well of its corporate and commercial banking relationships by delivering unique corporate finance and innovatively structured funding solutions for local companies. Not only is VPS a rising player in the corporate and government primary and secondary bond market, but is quickly emerging as a key player in the equity and M&A space in the country, best illustrating its diverse range of skills sets and unrivalled knowledge in Vietnam.
BEST M&A HOUSE
The Quant Group is the unrivalled M&A house in Thailand. The leading investment bank has some of the most experienced professionals in the industry responsible for structuring and executing a wide range of complex transactions, acting as key financial advisors for some of the most prominent transactions lately. The M&A franchise has a strong track record in both, buy and sell-side advisory and to-date, has completed a number of sizeable mergers in its list of completed transactions in Thailand. The Quant Group is no doubt a trusted advisor to many of Thailand’s leading private companies and conglomerates, let alone government officials.
M&A and corporate finance advisory is an important pillar of business at VCSC Securities. For almost a decade now, the investment bank has evolved and adapted to fast moving developments in Vietnam’s financial markets by playing a key role in advising clients small and large. During the awards period, VCSC Securities remained at the forefront and was one of the most active investment banks in the M&A space. The leading M&A house therefore has the most powerful all-round platform in Vietnam, much to the chagrin of its closest competitors, thanks to its strong equity and M&A advisory platforms in the country.
BEST RETAIL BANK
As one of the largest, most dynamic banks in the country, Bank Mandiri is a leading financing partner for retail customers in the country. The bank is today a leading transactional banking player from the retail level all the way up to the corporate level.The bank also has a strong, growing network across the country and has taken its retail banking business just as seriously as its other businesses. In Indonesia, Bank Mandiri has one of the strongest balance sheets among banks in the country and by whichever metric the bank is judged against, it emerges at the top of its league. This has most probably got to do with the bank’ unique ability to adapt to the economic environment however challenging or rosy.
Year after year and despite intensifying competition from government-linked banks as well as other private sector banks in the country jostling for a position near the top, Public Bank has remained steadfast and focused when it comes to the country’s burgeoning retail segment. In recent years, the Public Bank Group has continued to register strong growth Its sold retail banking franchise is a testimony to the resilience and strength of the banks’ business, customer relationships, people and processes. In the case of Public Bank, it is very much business as usual, thanks in large part to its ability to meet the demand and evolving funding needs of its retail customers in Malaysia.
Retail banking plays a crucial role in the development of the Philippines economy. It represents 96.6 per cent of all businesses registered in the country and employ 69.9 per cent of the total labour force. In addition, retail banking account for 32 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). At the center of it all is Security Bank. During the awards period, net loans grew due to sustained growth from consumer loans, middle market and small-and-medium enterprises. For its unique commitment in helping develop retail banking in the Philippines, the award for Best Retail Bank in the Philippines goes to Security Bank.
|THAILAND||Siam Commercial Bank|
Following years of industry-wide banking consolidation, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is fast emerging as a bank of choice not only among corporate and treasury clients but increasingly, retail customers spread across Thailand today. With a strong balance sheet and a simple unyielding focus on the lending business, the bank is one of the most focused in the retail banking arena today. In almost every retail banking metric measured against, SCB excels including key financial ratios such as pre- and post-tax profits, the NPL ratio, provisioning, ROE, CAR, and NIM as well as total assets, total loans, total deposits and total branch numbers, making the bank one of the best benchmarks for the Thai economy today.
BEST DIGITAL BANK
By focusing on robust risk management controls, strong information technology systems and a quality manpower, UOB Indonesia is among a handful of banks in the country with a leading cutting edge online and mobile banking offering. In January 2020, the bank launched the mobile-only bank called Tomorrow (TMRW) to serve a large and growing segment well in tuned with the evolving world of digital banking. In 2021, UOB adopted an expand-defend strategy to continue to serve and to guard its customer base, while growing its customer franchise in Indonesia. The bank has kept itself busy doing just that. TMRW was created by completely redesigning the customer experience journey from start to finish. Opening a TMRW account is as simple as uploading a photo ID-card with as few online forms to fill out as possible, finished with a quick video call with TMRW agents for verification. The whole on boarding process can be completed within a record nine minutes. Leveraging on machine learning and artificial intelligence to gain better understanding of customer preference and behaviour, UOB is well placed to trailblaze its way to the top as the leading digital bank in Indonesia.
Following a four-year intensive effort to overhaul its banking products, services and solutions, RHB Bank has emerged as a leading player in the digital banking space in Malaysia. By re-imagining the existing value chain of each of its product, RHB has been able to not only build, implement and maintain its market share but expand its reach across products. From SME lending, retail banking, to corporate banking, RHB today has steadily built up a strong value proposition. By re-designing the value chain and outlining new digital features and functions and ensuring end-to-end delivery of its digital solutions, RHB has been able to excel, growing its market share exponentially, thanks to its improvised process and faster turnaround time. With the bank focused on investing in the next generation of enhancements, RHB Bank is well placed for many more years to come.
With an unadulterated focus on creating long-term value for its stakeholders by balancing growth with stability, RCBC has continued to transform itself and emerge as a leading player in the digital banking marketplace in the Philippines. With its unique ATM Go, Philippines’ first neighbourhood automated teller machine (ATM), cardholders with bank accounts with almost any bank under the supervision of the country’s central bank are able to withdraw cash, and conduct other banking services via various pay-out partners using mobile point-of-sale devices (mPOS) within their own communities. Bearing in mind how 77.4 percent of the Filipino population remain unbanked, the ATM Go solution uses mobile point-of-sale devices (mPOS) as a service backbone and thus, serves a large segment of the Philippines that is often overlooked. Therefore, the award for the inaugural Best Digital Bank in the Philippines goes to RCBC Bank.
By focusing on intelligent document processing, remote customer due diligence, AI and data driven fraud detection, UOB has been able to move ahead of its closest competitors to claim the pole position of the top digital bank in the country. In recent years, UOB has invested heavily incorporating state-of-the art technologies in its entire end-to-end process, enhancing sales and distribution channels to drive digital loan application volume through channel partner integration as well as sales & customer facing mobile Apps. Meanwhile, UOB has also continued to make improvements to serve its customers with seamless service and provide them with better services, second to none. With the onset of Covid-19, demand for funding via online channels has seen record growth and this is set to continue at banks like UOB that continue to invest in evolving technologies and adapt their products and services to the changing needs of their customers.
BEST SMALL TO MID CAP CORPORATE FINANCE HOUSE
As a historically dominant player in the ECM mid-cap space, AmInvestment Bank remains well entrenched among small to mid-cap companies in Malaysia. A leading player in the equity capital markets space in Malaysia with deal presence in beyond Malaysia, AmInvestment Bank has consistently ranked top on a number of mid cap corporate finance issues by demonstrating how it has the unique skillsets, infrastructure and manpower strength to advise companies of all sizes. While the leading corporate finance house also remains a noticeable force in the large cap space within Malaysia’s burgeoning equity capital markets, AmInvestment Bank has a unique niche as the country only bulge bracket investment bank with an in-depth, committed footprint in the small to mid-cap corporate finance space.
As a key player in the ECM mid-cap space, VCSC Securities remains well entrenched among rising number of small to mid-cap companies in Thailand. A leading player in the equity capital markets space in Thailand, VCSC has consistently ranked top on a number of mid cap corporate finance issues by demonstrating how it has the unique skillsets, infrastructure and manpower strength to advise companies of all sizes. While the leading corporate finance house also remains a noticeable force in the large cap space within Vietnam’s growing equity capital markets, VCSC has a unique niche as the country only bulge bracket investment bank with an in-depth, solid footprint in the small to mid-cap corporate finance space.
BEST INSTITUTIONAL BROKER
With the Indonesian economy growing in prominence among institutional and high net worth individuals, CGS-CIMB has built up its presence in the country as a one-stop broker for quality research backed by top calls, notable distribution capabilities for equity offerings as well as its impeccable brokerage services. During the awards period, CGS-CIMB was by far one of the most active on IDX with a large proportional flow originating from its institutional clients and balance from retail equities. CGS-CIMB has also made some significant research calls on a number of key liquid stocks increasingly sought after by the institutional investment community. Therefore, the award for the Best Institutional Broker in Indonesia goes to none other than CGS-CIMB, which remains on a strong trajectory of growth.
|MALAYSIA||Maybank Kim Eng|
Among the local brokerages operating in the country, Maybank Kim Eng was by far one of the most active on BursaMalaysia during the awards period. During this period, a large portion of its brokerage business originated from its institutional clients with the balance from retail investors. It has made some significant research calls and advised investors to time their investments in the most profitable way. During the awards period, the award-winning brokerage Maybank Kim Eng has also made some of the best sector-based research calls according to some investors Alpha Southeast Asia spoke to. Therefore, the institutional brokerage position of Maybank Kim Eng today remains, second to none.
|PHILIPPINES||Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities Inc.,|
With 90 % of total equities originating from institutional fund flows, the bulk of which is sourced from foreign funds, Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities Inc., is a powerhouse that is only getting stronger as the years go by. As a domestic lead underwriter of high profile small and large sized equity offerings, Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities Inc., has successfully proven yet again that it is able to carry through the deal momentum at a time when most banks and brokers are busy rebuilding scale in the Philippines, following several years of resource reallocation to other parts of Asia. The team at Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities Inc., have a deep understanding of issues affecting the local market and given their history and track record compared to the nascent effort by some of their other counterparts, they are able to produce some of the most defining research calls.
As one of the top brokerages based on transaction volume in Singapore, DBS Vickers has emerged as the leading brokerage in Singapore. DBS Vickers success is due to its extensive sales network, a research team dedicated to insightful, incisive and timely views and a management team that is committed to its people and clients. At the core of its business culture is a commitment to exemplary client service delivered with a wealth of experience and expertise accumulated from having done business in Asia for over two decades. A bulk of their clients are institutional funds and the broker is able to generate a large proportion of its business from the growing annualised turnover value from the SGX. In terms of research calls, DBS Vickers’ position on several blue-chip stocks have made some of its institutional clients that follow and act on their research, very happy indeed.
Ranked among the top brokers over the last ten years by data sourced from the Stock Exchange of Thailand, CGS-CIMB is the leading broker in Thailand for institutional investors. Leveraged with strong alliances, independent and noteworthy research, covering over two-thirds of the stocks listed on SET, CGS-CIMB is able to provide clients with international expertise along with local knowledge and in-depth understanding of local issues shaping economic events, affecting Thailand today. CGS-CIMB is therefore the leading institutional brokerage in Thailand, thanks to its dominant market share throughout the year when it comes to Thai-based institutional investors and foreign investors. It also has an internationally reputable ECM group and is often cited as bringing to market some of the most remarkable deals in recent history.
As one of the few local brokerages with an international team of bankers, SSI Securities (SSI) has built a number of strong relationships with large local and foreign institutional investors and financial institutions over the years. SSI’s research calls on CTG (119%), MBB (108%) & HPG (147%) – each of which has outperformed market expectations, since the buy recommendation was put out is helping prove how deeply the firm understands the rising stars of tomorrow in Vietnam, the next frontier in ASEAN’s capital markets. Last but not least, SSI has been able to time the bottom of the index and stand by the issues it led to the market, generating fair returns for not only the issuer but institutional investors who bought into listings and saw the value of their holdings rise on the first day of trading, due to oversubscription as well as excess demand pushing the prices further north.
BEST RETAIL BROKER
IndoPremier Sekuritas has been in the business of stock trading for years, and is today a dynamic broker with a fast-growing market share in Indonesia. With extensive experience in researching, selecting, recommending, buying and selling equities for and on behalf of investors, the leading brokerage player has reached its present position in the securities business through the nurturing of long-term relationships with customers and dedication to close personalised service. As one of the most active members on the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX), it is also the leading local broker in the country for institutional investors, high net worth individuals overseas as well as retail investors, cornering a sizeable percent of the total market share during the awards period, one of the highest among brokers based in Indonesia.
Among the local brokerages operating in the country, CGS-CIMB has been busy carving out a niche for itself by focusing on the retail segment in Malaysia. Among the local players, CGS-CIMB has been one of the most active on BursaMalaysia during the awards period. With a sizeable retail base and handling a sizeable chunk of BursaMalaysia’s retail volume, the brokerage appears to be pulling all stops to ensure it entrenches its position firmly within this segment. In terms of the fast-evolving competitive landscape, CGS-CIMB is continuing to capitalise on its retail strength combining its strategic platform as well as breadth and depth of service at CGS-CIMB and its balance sheet strength, entrenching its position as the Best Retail Broker in Malaysia.
|PHILIPPINES||BDO Securities Inc.,|
BDO Securities’ leading position as a retail broker on the Philippine Stock Exchange is undisputed. The fact that the firm not only dominates in the brokerage segment but also excels in the ECM business is a just another feather in its cap. BDO Securities remains a powerful force ranked in terms of turnover volume on the PSE during the awards period, with a market share in double digits. The firm covers a number of domestic equity funds that actively trade the stock market and has a solid equity research offering, with its analysts regularly making insightful “buy” and “sell” calls. It is also the preferred house when it comes to high net worth individuals and is likely to remain a driving force in this segment. In terms of research calls, investors following its advice reaped gains from buy calls on key blue-chip stocks in the Philippines, making BDO Securities the most well entrenched broker in the country.
|SINGAPORE||Maybank Kim Eng|
As one of the top brokerages based on transaction volume in Singapore, Maybank Kim Eng has re-emerged as the leading brokerage in Singapore. Maybank Kim Eng’ success is due to its extensive sales network, a research team dedicated to insightful, incisive and timely views and a management team that is committed to its people and clients. At the core of its business culture is a commitment to exemplary client service delivered with a wealth of experience and expertise accumulated from having done business in ASEAN for over two decades. Ranked as one of the most active in terms of retail investment flows, retail clients are a core segment for Maybank Kim Eng. In terms of research calls, Maybank Kim Eng’ position on a number of large blue chip and small to mid-cap stocks have ensured retail clients that follow and act on its research profited well.
|THAILAND||Maybank Kim Eng|
As the top broker in Thailand, Maybank Kim Eng is re-emerging as one of the most active financial institutions through which investors are investing their funds in the local exchange. Maybank Kim Eng research currently covers a significant portion of the total market capitalisation and regularly produces reports that are tailored to both ends of the spectrum – retail and institutional investors. The brokerage is supported by a highly regarded research and investment strategy department and has cemented its position as a strong link between investors and investment opportunities in the country.
|VIETNAM||Maybank Kim Eng|
As one of the few local brokerages with an international team of bankers, Maybank Kim Eng has built one of Vietnam’s strongest platforms for retail investors to partake in the country local equity markets. With a commanding market share in retail flows and institutional equities, Maybank Kim Eng is enlarging its market share as the years go by. Over the last ten years, Maybank Kim Eng has also made a number of profitable trading recommendations, generating notable returns for its clients. The broker has also expanded its research offering, product suite and continuously enhanced the online trading experience for its clients, making it a preferred broker among a growing legion of retail investors. Thanks to its stock picking skills and unique focus on limiting drawdowns, the broker stood out from the pack during a year that was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, making its research output one of the best technical stock pick sources in the country.
BEST TRADE FINANCE BANK
|INDONESIA||Bank Negara Indonesia|
Supported by its ever expanding and rapidly developing network and product range, well-trained trade professionals and its continuing investments into the latest available forms of technology, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is the leading provider of trade financing services in Indonesia, during a period when the country is seeing one of its most challenging economic and trade performances. The quest to shorten its export payments and collection cycle and enabling its clients to access critical information related to their businesses on time, has helped the bank minimise its own documentary risk and increase the quality and volume of its trade assets in recent years. As a result, document processing at the bank is said to be one of the most efficient among local banks in Indonesia. Given the scale of its operations, BNI is also able to offer one of the most competitive rates when it comes to domestic L/Cs as well as other forms of innovative trade financing solutions today, winning this much sought-after award eleven times in the last fifteen years. (Note: 7th consecutive win)
As one of the largest banks in the country with the longest history in this business and over 100 branches, RHB Bank is undoubtedly the most preferable trade finance facilitator between importers, exporters and manufacturers throughout the entire supply chain within the country. In addition to 22 trade finance centres, the bank has trade finance experts located nationwide with designated sales and services teams backed by a centralised trade-processing centre. RHB Bank also practices same day delivery and discrepancy free documents can be processed within hours that is, as quickly as between one to three hours, winning this award for the fourth time in the last five years.
While foreign banks are the bank of choice for a number of multinationals in the Philippines for their trade finance needs, BPI is the preferred local bank of choice for large local corporates and small to medium enterprises as well as multinationals with extensive manufacturing operations in the country. The fact that the bank is among few large leading commercial banks with a dedicated business unit focusing on agriculture, aiding the growth and development of agri-businesses in the country, demonstrates how the bank plans to leverage on its unique position in the Philippine’ market and grow its market share. With a wide network of over 800 branches and kiosks all over the Philippines and one of the highest bank ratings among local banks in the country, BPI is no doubt the preferred local bank partner when it comes to trade financing in the Philippines, given the established inroads the bank has successfully made over the years in this business, winning this award for the seventh consecutive year.
Whether it’s a simple standby L/C confirmation, a banker’s guarantee facility syndication, a risk participation trade deal, structured trade facility for a mining company or an end-to-end cross border structured deal, OCBC Bank is one banking partner you can rely on every step of the way. With a 24-hour dedicated hotline, a recently upgraded e-banking channel and the largest amount in trade assets on their books, OCBC Bank has come a long way and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While most banks focus on expanding market share, OCBC not only dominates in that respect but prioritises its trade business by focusing on structuring the most cost effective, yet profitable trade solution for its clients, playing the exact role a trade finance bank should play: facilitator of a given trade transaction – making OCBC the unequivocal winner for this award, for the fourth consecutive year.
With over 1,128 branches, 92 business centers, as well as hundreds of trade specialists and processing staff let alone the largest international branch network of 14 foreign offices among Thai banks, Bangkok Bank is without a doubt, the best bank when it comes to trade financing in Thailand for leading corporates and SMEs. The bank today has successfully cornered the largest market share for trade products in the country and is the preferred choice for importers and exporters. Bangkok Bank also has a reputation of thinking outside-the-box with innovative trade solutions and in recent years has started covering as much of the supply chain as possible with the aim of helping their clients mitigate risk and boost their internal cash flows. For these reasons, the award for the Best Trade Finance Bank in Thailand for the fifteenth consecutive year goes to Bangkok Bank.
BEST CASH MANAGEMENT BANK
Bank Mandiri has continued to strengthen its positioning as one of the best provider of cash management services in Indonesia by delivering total solutions and providing tailored cash management services based on their customer needs and creating synergy with other business units within the bank. Thanks to a shift in thinking at the management level recognising the importance of transactional fee income, everything the bank does today is centered around being part of the payments and receivables process from the corporate level down to the retail level by leveraging on its under-utilised resources at its disposal. Therefore, the bank that has excelled over the years is now all set on entrenching its market share deeper in the lucrative account receivables & account payables business by technologically integrating all transactions back and forth across various industry segments. In other words, by placing banking convenience at the core of its business, it is positioning itself to become the preferred choice for cash management solutions for years to come winning this award for the tenth time in 15 years.
With a growing market share due to its innovative thinking, OCBC Bank is today the predominant player when it comes to cash management in Malaysia. The strength of its offering lies in its middle-market segment comprising of mainly commercial businesses and as a result is able to service a growing portfolio of SMEs as well as very large corporates and multinationals as well. Among its largest clients are some of Malaysia’s largest corporates as well as some of the most active multinationals in the country. The bank has also continued launching new products that has led to new revenue sources worth millions of dollars. The transformation programme put in place by senior business unit heads is clearly now beginning to generate dividends in the form of its dominant market share and rising fee income from this business at the group level. Competitors beware.
Instead of competing for the traditional markets confined by “old-school” rules, BDO has deliberately adopted the strategy of maximising existing client-base and creating uncontested market space when it comes to cash management in the country. By taking a consultative approach as opposed to just selling, BDO has been able to innovate and build solutions for its clients. The bank aims to keep its position as the best in the Philippine cash management industry through continuous deployment of solutions that meet the increasing complexity of customers’ requirements. The bank has also successfully changed the way corporate payroll is handled today, from the traditional cash stuffing and manual distribution to the electronically driven file upload and automatic crediting to the card for easy and efficient end-user utilisation. Put simply, BDO’s commitment to nurturing the cash management is unmatched in the local banking scene, therefore retaining this award for the sixth consecutive year.
Kasikornbank is a market leader in Thailand when it comes to product innovation especially in the area of electronic collection & payments. Among small-to-medium-sized companies as well as top-tier corporates, the bank is perceived as the most capable bank when it comes to providing unique cash management solutions. Kasikornbank secret to success lies in its infinite drive to lower costs for the benefit of its stakeholders and its treasury and cash management clients as well as its ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards technical glitches. With a 24/7 call centre dedicated to supporting its cash management products, an independent helpdesk control centre to actively monitor applications and services synthesised with six sigma practices to ensure high service quality and process efficiency, the bank has made major inroads into the cash management space and is today, the undisputed leader of cash management services in Thailand.
BEST WEALTH MANAGEMENT BANK
Wealth management in Indonesia may mean different things to different people. This applies all the more to foreign private bankers outside Indonesia who have their own definition of this industry. To just over dozen-odd local Indonesian banks offering wealth management services in the country, their definition of wealth management could be as just as divergent and broad. Wealth management to some banks could simply mean priority banking where one never has to stand in a queue to investing in a divergent range of investment products, based on a sophisticated risk/reward profile that can help generate the highest return for the client. This however does not mean Indonesia is an undeveloped market. On the contrary, foreign private bankers are known to rank Indonesia, immediately after China and India and Bank Mandiri is one such bank that is at the forefront, in part thanks to the size of its total assets, balance sheet strength and consistent and professional service, based on feedback from its peers, winning this award twelve times in the last 15 years. (Note: 6th consecutive win)
Maybank Wealth Management is one of Malaysia’s leading, most versatile wealth management banks catered to high net worth individuals in Malaysia. As part of Maybank Group, the wealth management arm is able to leverage on a network of research analysts, portfolio managers, estate planning and trust experts across the bank. As a private wealth management house, the private banking arm is also able to offer its clients a whole spectrum of solutions ranging from stocks, bonds, unit trusts, structured products, asset management products to alternative investments such as private equity funds and derivative products all under one roof. Apart from conventional products, Maybank Wealth Management also offers shariah-compliant options to Muslim clients who wish to conform to shariah investment principles, making Maybank Wealth Management the preferred Best Private Wealth Management Bank in Malaysia in 2021, winning this award for the fifth consecutive year.
|PHILIPPINES||BDO Private Bank|
BDO Private Bank is a unique institution unlike any another in the Philippines, and elsewhere. In a country where the biggest exports are its own people consisting of not only domestic workers but also lawyers, engineers, doctors, bankers and innovative entrepreneurs, BDO Private Bank has carved out a niche to service an emerging segment of wealthy individuals. The bank’s approach is based on an open architecture model, where investment products most appropriate to the needs and objectives of the client may be sourced from any provider, even from third parties not affiliated with the bank, an approach providing unparalleled flexibility in implementing the client’s investment strategy and geared towards delivering the best possible optimal returns. The fact that the bank’s balance sheet performance has improved during the awards period while global private banks had to deal with ways to overcome crippling cutbacks combined with an all-time low confidence level in global private banks, among high net worth individuals is perhaps the greatest proof why this business model inarguably works best, winning this accolade for the fourteenth consecutive year.
|SINGAPORE||DBS Private Bank|
While a large number private banks find themselves at the drawing board re-evaluating business priorities, DBS Private Bank has been expanding its wealth business in Asia, undaunted by the slowdown and stock market turmoil. Having one of Asia’s largest, strongest and most well-managed bank as its majority shareholder, DBS Private Bank is the city-state’s Best Private Wealth Management Bank. Through organic growth and strategic M&As over the last decade, the bank has grown rapidly and has more than tripled its AUM to S$264 billion. With one of Asia’s strongest balance sheets, DBS Private Bank is today the largest Asia-based private bank capitalising on rising wealth levels across Asia. With branches across key cities in Asia, the bank is able to provide the entire value chain of specialist financial services to high net worth individuals in Asia with a unique Asian touch. With a parentage firmly grounded in Asia and expertise from the best parts of the private banking world, DBS Private Bank is truly the private wealth management bank of choice for investors with wealth domiciled in this region and elsewhere.
|THAILAND||SCB Julius Baer|
Although Thailand has gone through a tumultuous period over the last decade, the resilience of the local economy has helped many companies and banks generate profits not seen in countries with a stable political environment and strong economic fundamentals. In such uncertain times, it is only natural for high net worth individuals to gravitate towards a safe anchor that promises consistency, stability and optimally, steady growth. SCB Julius Baer, appears to be one such anchor. Outstanding assets under management and fee income have both, grown during the awards period. While the wealth management industry in Thailand is in an embryonic stage, the future outlook is bright and the wealth manager is set to continue growing its market share in this segment for many more years to come.
Best SME Bank in Southeast Asia: OCBC Bank
While it is no doubt an achievement to excel in your home market but it is quite another to replicate similar levels of success in foreign markets altogether. As one of Singapore’s largest bank’ with one of the strongest balance sheets in the world, OCBC Bank may not have the largest market share in Southeast Asia given the disparate geographic size of the region but has by far, one of the most flexible, innovative and forward thinking SME product and solution lines in the region and given such, has made significant inroads into the region’s sprawling SME banking market share. The bank has thus far invested tens of millions in creating and improving products, processes and channels to serve local SMEs and instead of reproducing tried and tested products, the bank adapts and launches innovative country specific products often taking local banks by surprise, making it Southeast Asia’s Best SME Bank for the seventh consecutive year.
Best Broker in Southeast Asia: Maybank Kim Eng
Maybank Kim Eng leverages on both its historically entrenched position as one of the leading brokers in Asia as well as its solid balance sheet of its parent, Maybank Group. The leading broker’s strong origination, research capabilities at the investment banking front as well as its extensive stock brokering and retail banking franchises in the region has played a key role in intermediating record capital flows between issuers and investors in recent years. With on-the-ground research coverage across ASEAN, Maybank Kim Eng is able to generate thought leadership and unique insights into over 500 publicly-listed companies in the Asian region. Using the definition of foreign fund managers whose source of funds is foreign, its institutional client base is made up predominantly of foreign fund managers. In years to come, Maybank Kim Eng is set to become even stronger as it continues to entrench itself deeper into the local markets throughout the Asia Pacific region, winning this award for the eighth consecutive year.
Best Transactional Banking Online Platform: OCBC Bank
Known as one of the most tech-savvy cities in Asia, Singapore is at the forefront of research and innovation when it comes to digital banking. Being one of the largest banks in Singapore, OCBC Bank was first bank to introduce a digital Business Financial Management (BFM) tool to help SMEs digitalise their financial management processes through Cashflow Analysis and E-Invoicing. OCBC was also instrumental in launch of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s equivalent PromptPay, enabling the world’s first cross- border transfer using mobile numbers. Just as remarkably, OCBC was the pioneer bank in Singapore Customs Electronic Banker’s Guarantee (EBG) Programme, which has significantly reduced the processing time from about 1 week to 1 working day. While most banks seemingly adapt to wave after wave of technological changes, OCBC has developed the required backend building blocks enabling its clients to seamlessly adapt to the banking agility OCBC offers to suit the demands of any businesses, anytime, anywhere, making it truly the Best Transactional Banking Online Platform, winning this award for the fourth consecutive year.
Best Wealth Management Bank in Southeast Asia: DBS Private Bank
Although global financial markets continue to experience periodic gaps of extreme volatility with the asset management and private banking industries exposed to much of the recent wild swings in overall volumes in assets under management, a handful of institutions have held its own. One such bank, firmly anchored in Asia, with deep relationships with the region’s most influential families and entrepreneurs is DBS Private Bank, a private banking powerhouse that today rivals global private banking behemoths in both prominence and product depth. The fact that the bank’s balance sheet performance has improved during the awards period while global private banks had to deal with ways to overcome crippling cutbacks perhaps best illustrate why the unique business model at DBS Private Bank inarguably works best. Given such, ultra-high net worth individuals will continue to gravitate towards such a unique safe anchor that promises consistency, stability and optimally, steady growth.