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Most Innovative Banks

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Every year, The Banker, a Financial Times Group intelligence source, sponsors the Investment Banking Awards. This year’s awards, held at Claridge’s Hotel in London in early October, took place against a backdrop of tightening regulatory frameworks and intense competition in the sector. They proved that not only are financial institutions adapting successfully and profitably to the changing banking landscape, but that the latter has sparked a highly encouraging wave of innovation.

Highlights of the Awards for Innovation.

It was a particularly successful evening for HSBC, which won the award for World’s Most Innovative Investment Bank as well as a host of prizes relating to innovation in project and infrastructure finance, risk management and emerging markets. Its success was almost matched by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which received the award for Most Innovative Investment Bank from North America and specific accolades for innovation in the areas of private placement, climate change and retail and consumer goods. Elsewhere, Deutsche Bank won awards for their innovation in the fields of securitization, IPOs and equity offerings, while Goldman Sachs was recognised for leveraged financing, Credit Suisse for foreign exchange and Barclays for equity-linked bonds.

Morgan Stanley will no doubt be delighted to have its team labelled “Most Innovative”, while Rothschild, BNP Paribas, Citi and Societe Generale won recognition for their restructuring, structured finance, mergers and acquisitions and equity derivatives respectively. JP Morgan was one of the few major organisations to miss out on an award, and it is no doubt highly incentivised to change this at next year’s event.

The 2015 Awards equally demonstrated that innovation isn’t just restricted to the established Western banks. Investment banks from Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific also won awards. Independent investment banks and those specialising in areas such as Islamic finance were represented, demonstrating the global strength and depth of innovation in the financial sector.

Banking for the Future

As well as illuminating the extraordinary resilience of investment banks in the face of continuing pressures from governments, regulators and competitors, the Awards threw into sharp relief the capacity the sector has for evolution and for driving change.

The number and quality of prize winners will prove that innovation is no longer the preserve of single institutions but that teams from banks worldwide are making as notable and as valuable a contribution.

This is a testimony not only to the health of the banking industry. It is equally an astonishing reflection on the talented and industrious individuals currently peopling the sector. If our banks and financial institutions can continue to attract and nurture this calibre of employee, the refreshing wave of innovation will be sustained and the future of the sector assured.

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