Defining the best banks in Asia

Citi, DBS and HSBC are nominated as Best bank at The Asset Regional House and Deal Awards

FROM innovations in digital banking to rapid developments in the capital markets, 2017 was a year to remember in Asia, as several banks made their mark on the regional landscape. Three banks – Citi, DBS and HSBC – are nominated for the coveted Best bank award at The Asset Triple A Regional Awards 2017.

Citi continued its drive to be one of the top consumer banks in the region by focusing on its digital capabilities. Last year the bank established additional digital partnerships with the likes of AXA and Honestbee, on top of older partnerships with Line and Lazada. Moreover, the bank has improved on its digital onboarding procedures witnessing growth in its online cards business. In Singapore, the bank launched a Facebook chatbot to answer banking enquiries.

In corporate and institutional banking, Citi participated in important deals backed by its strong all-round franchise. In Korea, for example, the bank had a strong equity markets performance, participating in a number of interesting block trades. The bank helped develop the equity markets of the Philippines and Vietnam, participating in significant deals in those markets as well.

In fixed-income, the bank was involved in a range of deals, including the sovereign issuances of the Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Moreover, the bank worked with both investment grade and high-yield issuers. One of the key deals for the bank was Alibaba’s US$7 billion multi-tranche offering representing the first 40-year tenor in over two decades. Overall, the bank recorded continued growth in net income compared to 2016, supported by both its institutional and consumer banking groups.

DBS, likewise, had a strong financial performance that saw total income and profits hit new highs in the first nine months of 2017, backed by growth in loan volumes and fee income. Net interest income, in particular, increased 9% to S$1.98 billion (approx. US$1.51 billion). The bank looked to further develop its digital banking capabilities in 2017 with the launch of digibank in Indonesia, a fully mobile banking proposition. This comes off the back of DBS’ first digibank launch in India where the bank was able to onboard 1.5 million new customers.

In corporate and institutional banking, DBS was an active player in Asia’s reit (real estate investment trust) market, participating in some of the most significant trades in 2017, such as Keppel KBS US Reit’s US$476 million IPO. Moreover, the bank has an experienced fixed-income team in the Singapore dollar market. In 2017, DBS’ debt team took a step forward in market-defining deals such as Postal Savings Bank of China’s (PSBC) US$7.25 billion additional tier 1 capital securities – the largest bank capital raising ever from a Chinese commercial bank. In M&A, the bank’s team was particularly active last year, participating in HNA’s US$1 billion acquisition of CWT, as well as other deals involving Chinese entities.

HSBC had a strong performance, and in the first three quarters the bank recorded US$12.115 billion in adjusted profit before tax in Asia, up from US$10.948 billion in the same period a year before, equivalent to a 10.7% YOY growth. Growth was supported by an increase in net interest income. Moreover, the bank continued to grow lending in Asia (up by US$8.6 billion), notably in Hong Kong, where commercial banking term lending increased.

In a historic year of Asian G3 bonds issuance, HSBC was one of the top underwriting banks, assisting a wide array of issuers. The bank, for instance, acted as joint global coordinator in Paiton Energy’s US$2 billion dual-tranche bond – the first project bond in Asia since 2000. The bank has also committed itself to China’s Belt and Road initiative, completing several landmark deals including the first Belt and Road Climate Bond and Maybank’s one-billion-yuan (approx. US$160 million) onshore financial Panda bond.

In loan syndication, HSBC was joint mandated lead arranger, underwriter and bookrunner in Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group’s US$3.5 billion syndicated term loan, representing Ant Financial’s debut international syndicated debt facility and precursor to its planned IPO. In the M&A space, HSBC was able to finally close ChemChina’s US$43 billion acquisition of Syngenta, the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.

The winner of the Best Corporate and Institutional Bank will be announced during The Asset Regional House and Deal Awards dinner on February 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong. Please click here for more details.


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30 Jan 2018



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