Which transaction banks led the way in North Asia?

Top awards for Standard Chartered, which wins Best in treasury and cash management, North Asia; and HSBC which wins Best in working capital and trade finance, North Asia

IN the dynamic market of North Asia, liquidity was essential for any treasury manager looking to grow their business. Since the Chinese regulator imposed a strict window guidance on the outflow of funds from the country, transaction bankers have had to devise innovative structures to ensure the free flow of funds. Whether it was interest rate optimization or creating a cross-border pooling/sweep via one of China’s free trade zones, several companies have been able to centralize their cash positions.

Like in previous years, North Asia saw the establishment of a number of supply chain finance programmes aimed at supporting both suppliers and distributors. Now we are seeing companies reaping the benefits of off-balance sheet treatment when it comes to their pending receivables. Trade credit insurance companies, such as the likes of Sinosure in China, are also playing a part in mitigating risk for participants in these programmes.

Collaboration between banks and third-party providers continued with banks more often than not upgrading their technological systems to enable better connectivity with different entities. During the review period we saw banks show their willingness to work alongside Chinese payment providers such as WeChat to help their corporate clients with activities such as collections. Moreover, there were several banks that customized their systems to interact with local ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems.

Adhering to all these different market trends in the region, Standard Chartered stood out from the pack for helping their North Asia clients gain better control and visibility. Supported by insightful customer testimonials the bank wins the award for Best in treasury and cash management, North Asia.

Similarly, HSBC was a key player in the region, particularly in trade finance, where it has strong roots in the key markets of China and Hong Kong. The bank demonstrated its ability to offer tailor-made trade solutions for their various clients. As a result, the bank wins Best in working capital and trade finance, North Asia.

Within the competitive market of China, a couple of international banks took top honours, including Deutsche Bank, which was cited by its clients for its liquidity management and risk management capabilities. Deutsche wins Best in treasury and working capital for NBFIs (non-bank financial institutions), China; Best service provider, structured trade finance, China; Best service provider, liquidity management, China; and Best service provider, risk management, China. Standard Chartered takes home the award for Best in treasury and working capital for MNCs (multinational corporations), China.

Local banks nonetheless were key service providers in the China market. China Merchants Bank takes the coveted award for Best service provider, transaction bank, China. Clients speaking to The Asset highlighted the bank for its innovative approach in using technology to alleviate some common pain points facing Chinese treasury managers. China Merchants Bank is also recognized as the Best service provider for supply chain, China, and Best service provider, e-solutions partner, China.

Bank of Communications wins the Best service provider award for cash management, China, and Bank of China wins the Best service provider award for trade finance, China.

Across the border in Hong Kong, clients cited Standard Chartered as a key bank for many treasurers and CFOs. The bank wins the awards for Best service provider, transaction bank, Hong Kong; Best service provider, cash management, Hong Kong; Best service provider, supply chain, Hong Kong; and Best service provider, liquidity management, Hong Kong.

Hang Seng Bank defends its title as Best in treasury and working capital for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) offering clients in that segment a number of meaningful services. The bank’s SME activity has been credited as driving income for the bank. Other big winners in Hong Kong include Citi, HSBC and BNP Paribas.

In South Korea, Standard Chartered was the preferred bank for a number of customers for all client segments. The bank wins Best in treasury and working capital for MNCs/LLCs, South Korea, and Best in treasury and working capital for SMEs, South Korea. Deutsche Bank likewise was active in South Korea helping corporate customers manage their risk exposures. The bank wins Best service provider for risk management, South Korea, and also picks up the award for Best in treasury and working capital for NBFIs, South Korea.

Within the crowded market of Taiwan, E.Sun Bank was honoured as Best service provider, transaction bank, Taiwan. The bank introduced a number of new services for its customers including a single system that helps merchants manage electronic payments. The bank also wins Best service provider, e-solutions partner, Taiwan.

CTBC like in previous years continued to develop the trade finance landscape in Taiwan. The bank has expressed interest in using blockchain to solve the traditional challenges in trade. CTBC wins Best service provider for trade finance in Taiwan. Backed by strong client feedback, particularly in its cash management services, Taipei Fubon Bank wins the Best service provider for cash management, Taiwan.

For the complete list of winners, please click here.

The Asset is hosting the 4th Asia Treasury & Trade Finance Summit in April. For more information please click here.