Reporting on the white-hot world of fintech has earned FinanceAsia's Ray Chan a prestigious regional journalism award.
Chan was named Journalist of the Year - Investor Services and Technology at the State Street Institutional Press Awards Asia Pacific, for articles on the growing importance of fintech in two different markets, namely India and China.
In April, Chan examined how India was laying the foundations for the rise of e-commerce and the logistical roadblocks that still lay ahead for the country. As for China, he reported on the rise of the country's fintech insurgents and the pressure they are putting on the country's state-owned banks.
Judges praised how Chan "cleverly used an anecdote about an otherwise inconsequential $5,000 loan to a truck driver to show how China’s top leadership is throwing its weight behind the country’s surging fintech sector".
“Ray’s award is richly deserved," said Matthew Thomas, editor of FinanceAsia. "He has long been FinanceAsia’s go-to reporter for the fintech sector, and as the industry grows in importance that is becoming ever more crucial. I’m sure this will be just the first of many awards for Ray."
Meanwhile, our sister title AsianInvestor continued its winning record, with senior reporter Toby Yiu picking up two journalist of the year honours and colleague Richard Newell being highly commended in two categories.
With two awards and two commendations, AsianInvestor claimed more honours than any other news organisation in a competition which, according to organisers, received more than 190 entries from across the region.
The first award for Yiu, who joined AsianInvestor in September 2014, was Journalist of the Year - Pensions Issues. The stories that caught the eye of the competition judges were a feature published in the December 2015 print edition of AsianInvestor under the title 'China pension reform to spur chain reaction' and a February 2016 web report under the headline China's NSSF returns 15%, to boost PE assets.
Both stories foreshadowed one of the big issues of the year for the pensions industry: how China is bolstering its retirement protection under the public pension fund programme as it seeks ways to cater for a rapidly ageing population.
The judges also honoured Newell's reporting on pensions. He was highly commended for stories about Cost pressures driving investors to smart beta and, conversely, Why EPF shuns hedge funds and smart beta. The latter feature was part of an in-depth interview with the deputy chief executive of Malaysia's $161 billion Employees Provident Fund, the country's biggest state retirement fund.
Pension issues were not the only field in which Yiu excelled. He was also named winner of the Journalist of the Year - Regulation prize.
The judges were impressed by his feature in the June magazine entitled Bringing order to chaos, which examined how Chinese regulators are cutting private fund firms down to size and how such funds are likely to attract more interest abroad. They were also impressed by his September 2015 piece on concerns in China about the country's index circuit breaker. That was to prove prescient, of course: the circuit breaker mechanism was suspended days after it was introduced in January.
Newell also took a second honour: he was highly commended in the Award for Best Editorial Comment. The judges praised his articles Surveying the 1MDB wreckage, on the scandal engulfing Malaysia's state investment fund, and India bids to consolidate foreign investment crown, on how the country could continue its momentum after surpassing China as the leading destination for FDI.
Alison Tudor-Ackroyd, managing editor at Haymarket Financial Media, said: “The awards showcase HFM's excellent journalism across our brands. Our reporters’ passion for pursuing stories, knowledge of their fields and flare for writing in-depth features was recognised today.”
The State Street Institutional Press Awards, now in their fifth year in Asia Pacific, are decided by an independent panel of five judges from journalism, publishing, academia and non-profit bodies with investment expertise.