FinanceAsia Awards 2022-2023: Winner write-ups – North Asia

Read the rationale behind our jury’s selection of North Asia’s FA Award winners.

There was little doubt that 2022 was a tough year for everyone.

While in many cases, the big players could call on scale to prosper in this adverse financial landscape of interest rate hikes and geopolitical shocks, it was what the smaller players did that was most instructive for our judging panel.

Tapping deep reserves of resourcefulness, ingenuity and skill, enterprises across Asia Pacific performed at their very best.

From regional banks pursuing transition finance mechanisms – sometimes at risk to their own bottom lines, to the rating agencies carving out entirely new markets with entirely new products; this year’s winners of the FinanceAsia Awards are a testament to the resilience of the region.

For this year’s flagship process – in its 27th iteration – we were delighted to have the guidance of nine expert judges from across the region, whose deft knowledge of the investment banking arena, informed our selection and scoring process. Following their skilful assessment and internal review, please join the FA team in celebrating the institutions that showed determination to deliver desirable outcomes for clients and markets, through display of commercial and technical acumen.

Congratulations to the winners!

You can check out the photos from our 2023 gala dinner celebration here.





Best Bank, Best Broker, Best DCM House, Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: CICC

With a strong cross-border platform, diversified client base, and wide range of fixed income capabilities, CICC was an all-rounder in 2022 and the obvious choice for the jury across several categories.

“They are doing phenomenally well – they are even overtaking the Big Four banks in the space,” judges said of CICC’s submissions.

In terms of debt capital markets (DCM), CICC has been a leader in recent years.

In 2022, while new issue volume of medium- and long-term debt by Chinese companies in the offshore bond market dropped by over 45% year-on-year (YoY), CICC successfully lead-managed 191 international bond transactions totaling $54 billion and 41.4% in market share.

In terms of international equity capital markets (ECM), CICC led as the IPO bookrunner for Chinese issuers in Hong Kong (HK) and the US. It sponsored a total of 31 HK IPOs, including CTG Duty-Free, Tianqi Lithium, Sunshine Insurance and Lygend Resources, with an aggregate lead underwriting amount of $3.58 billion.

It closed a total of 34 HK IPOs, acting as global coordinator and underwriting $2.28 billion. It also outperformed in global depositary receipts (GDRs), having led the largest number and underwritten the highest value of the first batch of Swiss GDRs, including Keda, Gotion High-tech and Lepu Medical.

Key deals included: China Tourism Group Duty Free Corporation’s HK IPO, the largest for HK in 2022 and the largest global travel retail IPO for the past 16 years; and Tianqi Lithium’s IPO – the largest ever for the lithium industry.

2022 also marked significant progress of CICC’s influence in China cross-border M&A, increasing its market share by 3.53 percentage points, from 10.43% in 2021. The firm lead-advised on many milestone deals, including the largest China cross-border transaction, ECARX’s listing through de-Spac (special purpose acquisition company), and the backdoor listing of NaaS Technology on the Nasdaq.

As a broker, CICC kept its lead in a volatile market, securing a revenue of RMB6 billion ($837 million) and 3-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 20%.

Best Ratings Agency: CCXI

China Chengxin International (CCXI) is the leading credit rating agency in China and has maintained an unrivalled position in this highly competitive market.

“This is undoubtedly a very large agency with a broad spread and an interesting vision,” judges said.
The size and scale of CCXI’s numbers bears this out.  Last year, it facilitated bond issuances worth RMB6.02 trillion ($8 billion) and managed total outstanding bonds worth RMB17.42 trillion for 1,079 bond issuers and 2,564 existing customers.

CCXI excelled in structured financing, assisting 474 securitisation clients and raising a total of RMB811.7 billion. Their market share in credit asset-based securities (ABS), asset-backed notes (ABN), and corporate ABS issuance reached 41%, ranking first in the market.

In the insurance asset management product sector, CCXI also ranked top with market share exceeding 50%. They registered over 200 insurance debt investment projects and more than 40 insurance asset-backed projects.

CCXI plays a vital role in the issuance of infrastructure investment bonds, which expanded in 2022 to total RMB4.84 trillion.

Within the private sector and real estate market, CCXI provided rating services for over 40 private firms that issued nearly 190 bonds valued at RMB200 billion.

In terms of Chinese-funded US dollar bonds, CCXI undertook 33 panda bonds in 2022, commanding a comprehensive market share of over 60%.

Financially, CCXI’s total assets stood at RMB1.02 billion, shrinking 4.92% YoY. However, their operating income grew by 3.88% to RMB906 million, and net profit climbed by 7.22% to RMB343 million.

Best Sustainable Bank: Agricultural Bank of China (including ABC HO and ABC International)

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) has traditional strengths in areas such as inclusive and green finance and has been consistently building its ESG management system over the past year.

It now boasts a diverse range of green products across credit, investment banking, consumption and wealth management.

All of these are setting industry standards in China by addressing vital areas such as energy conservation, environmental protection, clean energy, ecological preservation, and green infrastructure.

Judges acknowledged ABC’s feats:

  • Green credit: A balance of RMB2,697.5 billion ($380 billion), reflecting a significant YoY increase of 36.4%. ABC facilitated more than RMB100 billion in carbon emission reduction loans across 939 projects.
  • Green investment and financing: An impressive RMB121.64 billion invested in green bonds, showcasing a robust YoY growth of 37.8%.
  • Green fund and wealth management: An 8.2% YoY increase in the proportion of green stock assets. The bank offered 43 ESG-themed wealth management products, managing assets worth RMB49 billion.
  • Green investment banking: The bank facilitated RMB300 billion in green syndicated loans, green M&A loans, and green bonds – 5 times that of 2021 by transaction count and 4 times by  value.

ABC International has also significantly expanded its influence in the offshore green bond area, participating in the $250 million green bond for Gansu Provincial Highway Aviation Tourism Investment Group – the first investment grade green and sustainable bond in Chinese transportation investment.

The bank also arranged for Syngenta Group (HK) the largest sustainability-linked syndicated loan (SLL) in Asia to date.


Best Bank: HSBC

Leveraging its dominance in the region – and with a particular focus on the Greater Bay Area (GBA) –  HSBC China showcased an impressive performance in 2022.

Key transactions were of the calibre that the region has come to expect of HSBC and included the first green panda bond issuance for a foreign multinational corporation (Mercedes-Benz) in China’s onshore bond market.

The bank notched up key wins for Belt-and-Road, including approving a project-based facility of $47 million for Goldwind, a wind turbine manufacturer and the energy solutions provider behind the largest wind project in Central Asia.

The bank’s total assets increased by RMB22.6 billion to RMB596.8 billion ($84 billion), marking 3.94% of YoY growth, primarily driven by higher reverse repurchase agreements and debt investments in financial instruments.

One notable highlight was growth in loans and advances to customers, which increased by RMB5.8 billion to RMB245.2 billion, a rise of 2.43% YoY, which the bank attributed to the expansion of the corporate loan portfolio.

Customer deposits witnessed a significant rise of RMB13.9 billion, indicating a 4.49% YoY increase, driven by personal accounts.

HSBC China’s operating income for 2022 amounted to RMB14.9 billion, an increase of 19.86% on the previous year, due to higher interest income and exchange gains resulting from business expansion, US dollar interest rate hikes, and FX fluctuation.

The bank’s net profits increased by 53.8% YoY to RMB6 billion in 2022 from RMB3.9 billion in 2021. This rise was attributed to the combined effect of increased operating income and reduced expenses, which showcased effective cost control measures.

Best Investment Bank: Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs (GS) has always enjoyed a dominant position and consistent success in China’s capital markets, and 2022 was no exception.

“China as a region stacks very much in GS’ favour,” judges said of its win. “They were present very early, not only as an investment bank, but also for distressed asset investment, offering various kinds of financial restructuring capabilities.”

Since GS executed its first public market offering for a Chinese issuer in 1994, the firm has been involved in excess of $1.5 trillion worth of transactions for Chinese clients – more than any other firm.

Through what it calls its “One GS” solution, Goldman has consistently acted for top-tier clients.
With a strong domestic distribution network; stock issuance and sales capabilities; as well as experienced domestic experts; GS has the key ingredient for any deal in the market: a close relationship and long-term cooperation with government and regulatory agencies.

It is unrivalled as an international investment bank and continues to outperform in ECM, DCM and M&A.

Notable transactions from 2022 include serving as joint bookrunner (JBR) for CATL’s $6.7 billion (RMB$45 billion) A-share private placement. The deal was the largest ever A-share follow-on offering, the second largest follow-on globally in 2022, the largest equity raise for Chinese issuers in 2022, and the second largest equity financing in the sector globally in the year.

GS generated strong subscription interest from high quality investors such as Temasek, GIC and Hillhouse.

Amongst other huge transactions, GS helped steer Onewo’s $734 million HK stock exchange (HKEX) IPO, which was the first spin-off transaction by China Vanke Group, the largest real estate IPO since 2021, and the third largest HK IPO in 2022.

Best Ratings Agency: Fitch Ratings

In 2022, Fitch Ratings solidified its position as a trusted partner in the Chinese market providing comprehensive coverage across all sectors, rating everything from massive state-owned enterprises to theme parks.

“This win is thoroughly deserved and entirely appropriate,” judges said.

With its sights set on becoming the preferred rating agency for Chinese investors, issuers, and bankers, Fitch has intensified its focus on analytical excellence and established sophisticated outreach programmes for all its rating stakeholders.

It has also committed to China by increasing its headcount. At the end of 2022, Fitch’s China team had about 50 analysts, representing an increase of more than 20%. Additionally, the firm has a wholly owned onshore rating subsidiary, Fitch Bohua, which focusses on the broader domestic market, underscoring its commitment.

As of end of last year, Fitch covered 473 publicly rated issuers in China, including China sovereign, two multilateral banks, 140 corporates, 158 public finance entities, six infrastructure entities, 26 banks, 27 NBFIs, 29 insurance companies, three funds and 81 securitisation transactions. In total, it rated more than $42 billion in Chinese debt.

Fitch’s extensive bond coverage providing timely rating surveillance services and a wide range of investment comparables, made it a clear winner of this category.

Best Sustainable Bank: Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

To say that Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) punches above its weight in China would be doing the French bank a disservice. It has long been a strong and established player on the mainland and is consistently enters new ESG territory.

The bank played pivotal roles in ground-breaking transactions during 2022, that have left a strong mark on the industry.

Notably, it led as joint lead manager (JLM) and JBR for the Hainan municipal government’s inaugural blue and sustainability bond, which established it as the first province to issue offshore in HK.

The proceeds from this blue tranche were directed towards vital areas such as water sanitation; sustainable shipping and port logistics; the fisheries and seafood value chain; and marine ecosystem restoration.

The bank’s expertise also shone through its involvement as sole green structuring advisor in the first-ever onshore green triparty repo transaction, alongside Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

These were the first green repos to be traded under the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) with the collateral comprising green bonds and the seller committing to utilising an amount equal to the repo proceeds for green purposes.

In terms of its general position in the China market, Crédit Agricole CIB continues to be in the heavyweight division. According to Dealogic, it secured a spot as top bookrunner for global green, social, sustainability, and sustainability-linked bonds (GSSS) in 2022, across all currencies.

Additionally, it holds the second position as a top-tier lender for global green loans on a cumulative basis from 2020 to 2022 and came second in Greater China international investment-grade sustainable bonds on a cumulative basis from 2018 to 2022.

Finally, 2022 marked the year that the bank a regional head of ESG syndicate, further enhancing its value to clients.

Most Progressive DEI: Citi

Citi has been at the forefront of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) push among the world’s Wall Street-headquartered banks. Last year, it introduced new diversity goals across gender, race and sexual orientation in its workforce, for achievement by 2025.

These include to boost the recruitment of LGBTQ staff from the current rate of 2.1% to 3.5%; and increase female representation in senior roles from 40.6% to 43.5%. In 2021, the bank became among the first to appoint a woman, Jane Fraser, as chief executive.

China Citi is also crunching data to achieve the same results and was the standout choice for this award. Judges said its Voice of the Employee survey (VOE) demonstrated hard work to embed transparency and accountability into efforts around DEI initiatives.

With a 96% participation rate, the bank’s employees help to shape its DEI policies.

“The VOE survey is the backbone of our ongoing commitment to engage our employees by allowing us to assess key management practices, monitor workforce trends and concerns as well as discover target areas of opportunity,” Citi wrote.

Currently, women make up more than half of the China workforce, surpassing diverse representation goals, to account for 52.2% at assistant vice president (AVP) level.

The bank’s annualised staff turnover rate – a true measure of workforce satisfaction – dropped from 13.6% to 9.3% in 2022, exceeding external benchmarks provided by Willis Towers Watson in the firm’s regular survey on foreign banks.



Best Bank, Best DCM House, Best Investment Bank, Best Sustainable Bank, Most Innovative Use
of Technology, Most Progressive DEI: HSBC

Hong Kong’s home bank delivered powerful results over the award period and was the judges’ choice across six key categories. In terms of the pure business of banking, HSBC outperformed in a tough year.

It reported profit before tax (PBT) in HK of $6.8 billion (comprising HSBC HK and Hang Seng), up 10% YoY and making up 35.4% of global group PBT. The number of top positions it holds was withering.

It was number 1 in net promoter scores (NPS) among major banks; number 1 in card spend with a 49% market share; number 1 in trade finance with 23.3% market share; top in life insurance annualised new premiums (ANP); and number 1 in terms of total remittance among international banks in the GBA.

In terms of sustainability, HSBC has made the region a prime focus, launching a $5 billion GBA Sustainability Fund to provide support across innovative sustainable lending structures in the Pearl River.

An example of its accomplishments include an innovatively structured $8 million term loan to green tech firm, AMPD Energy, to accelerate the deployment of battery solutions at its HK construction sites.

HSBC has maintained its position as the investment bank of choice in the region where it has been an undisputed leader in M&A advisory, DCM and has displayed strength across equity deals.

The bank’s extensive network of relationships, deep industry knowledge and strong execution capability enabled it to deliver one-stop integrated solutions for its clients.

“We thought HSBC’s submission was really impressive; they are deeply rooted in HK and their coverage in terms of solutions for institutional and retail clients is nothing short of remarkable.”

At the heart of HSBC’s offering is the strength of an extensive global network that offers quality on-the-ground relationships and experienced product specialists to deliver tailored solutions.

Despite the headwinds of 2022, the bank was able to lead and support companies in various recapitalisation and financing plans.

With six M&A deals under its belt during the award period, the scale of dealmaking was vast. These included CK Hutchison’s $11.7 billion sale of telecommunications infrastructure assets in Europe to Cellnex Telecom. HSBC brokered the transaction with full exclusivity and secured the buyer – a testament to successful collaboration between its HK and European teams. The transaction marked Cellnex’s largest acquisition and the largest-ever acquisition in Europe’s telecom towers sector.

The bank’s dominance in DCM continued, reflected by its leading market share in G3 and local currency bonds and its involvement across all segments of the market – from investment grade and high yield, to corporate hybrids. It stood out from its peers across G3 transactions involving HK issuers, with the widest range and highest number of transactions during the period. The bank enabled domestic clients to access funding in varied conditions.

In ECM, the HSBC franchise is consistently recognised as a leader in the HK equity and equity-linked market and continued its momentum this year. The team raised over $4.2 billion across nine deals for issuers and shareholders in HK, demonstrating the bank’s strong capability to originate and distribute.

On the technology front, HSBC has placed digitalisation at the top of its agenda, investing $5.5 billion every year in the space.

In 2021, the HSBC HK App had already set an industry benchmark by being the quickest among its rivals for retail customers to open an account, taking just five minutes. In 2022, the bank enhanced this with credit card and investment account application journeys which take 12 minutes , enabling customers not only to bank with HSBC in record time, but also to invest and spend.

On the DEI front, the bank has been working on gender pay gap disclosure to build a more accurate and transparent view of its diversity profile so that it can effectively target actions and measure progress.

Its Gender Pay Gap Disclosure comprises gender pay data for both HSBC and Hang Seng Bank combined in HK. While in HK there is currently no legislative requirement for gender pay reporting among financial institutions, HSBC is one of two banks voluntarily disclosing these details.

Best Broker: Everbright Securities International

The collective drop across equities, currencies, bonds and commodities in 2022 fed through to the brokerage sector, with the difference between the peak and trough of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) reaching a three-year high of more than 10,000 points.

However, despite this, Everbright Securities International (EBSI) maintained a profitable wealth management and brokerage business throughout a highly volatile year, achieving client base growth, a strong financial position and stable outlook.

Thanks to deep synergies with its parent company and continuous enhancement of its product platform, customer services and wealth management teams, EBSI remains well positioned to capture opportunities from a projected market rebound.

Aside from product distribution, the EBSI team wants to facilitate new product ideas to drive market development and judges paid particular attention to the brokerage’s work with customers to understand their needs through these economic cycles.

After the HSI’s steep fall in March 2022, EBSI conducted a market analysis followed by a customer survey on portfolio rebalancing preferences.

The feedback from 600 customers was received within two days with a 51% response rate. The findings led to the launch of an interest rate linked note product, a certificate of deposit (CD), short-term insurance plan, and high-grade bonds that attracted good fund inflows.

Having observed many investors’ tendency to hold cash under high inflation conditions, EBSI rolled out a “How to Unleash the Power of Cash?” campaign for clients, offering opportunity cost analysis and potential wealth management solutions alongside risk management principles.

As a consequence, 47% of the clients rejuvenated their portfolios.

Best ECM House: Haitong International Securities

While Haitong Securities (HTI Sec) plans to revamp its HK investment bank – halting an expansion after the firm posted unprecedented losses last year – judges felt that the broker had been strong and active in a highly volatile market.

“Given the important nature and strategic location of HK, this award is necessary, but HK as a market is seeing lots of challenges,” judges said of the firm’s submission.

In the HK market, Haitong completed 30 equity financing deals during the period, ranking number 3 by deal count.

In the overseas market, it completed one Spac listing in the US; four European GDR projects in conjunction with its parent company HTI Sec; and two financial advisory projects for enterprises in India.

Amid the challenging market conditions, the firm managed to complete a total of 20 IPO deals in HK (equating to a 25% market share), sponsoring seven deals.

Throughout the period, its ECM team was involved in 13% of all HK IPOs as sponsor or joint global coordinator (JGC), with diverse sector coverage. HK stocks last year suffered their biggest decline since 2011, with IPO activity tumbling to its lowest since the GFC.

This has weighed on the brokerage’s investment and underwriting businesses, and its exposure to soured high-yield bonds by Chinese developers dealt an extra blow.

Despite posting $840 million in losses, Haitong recently announced plans to raise up to HK$1.3 billion through a rights issue at a 1.6% premium to the closing price.

The sale of about 2 billion new shares, or 23% of the total after the issuance, would provide the firm with HK$1.3 billion in fresh funds if they are fully subscribed.

Haitong aims to enhance its capital base and financial position by improving its net current assets and cash on balance sheet without increasing liabilities.

Around 54% of the net proceeds will be used to further develop its cross-border business, 36% to expand margin and the rest for general working capital use.

Best ESG Impact: Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

This was an impressive submission and one which judges felt deserved recognition for the number of firsts Bank of China (Hong Kong) managed to chalk up on the board.

Alongside the launch of the first Green Mortgage Plan in HK, BOCHK has continued to innovate with green finance products and services in local markets.

It has been the first to pioneer green personal loans in HK, aimed at promoting the popularisation of electric vehicles (EVs) and facilitating a low-carbon transition.

It was behind HK’s first green insurance offering with the BOC Life iGreen Savings Insurance Plan – the first to be certified by an independent third-party. The premiums collected will be invested in ESG projects using proactive investment strategies such as positive screening.

Additionally, it was the first to create an ESG social responsibility deposit in Southeast Asia, at its Phnom Penh branch. With a target size of $20 million, the funds will be used to enhance social infrastructure and basic services, create employment opportunities, and help promote the city’s socio-economic development.

In its home market, BOCHK has been behind some of the largest deals. BOCHK acted as the mandated lead arranger (MLA), coordinator, facility agent, and sustainability structuring advisor in the largest SLL in Asia Pacific, a 3-year $4.5 billion SLL for Syngenta Group (HK), driving sustainable development in agriculture.

In what was the largest syndicated SLL for the real estate sector in HK, the bank was appointed as the sustainability advisor for Sun Hung Kai Properties’ HK$20.7 billion syndicated SLL.

Best Offshore Ratings Agency: Lianhe Ratings Global

Lianhe Global – currently the largest Chinese offshore ratings agency and the fourth largest international ratings agency in the Chinese offshore bond market – takes the award for Best Offshore Ratings Agency.

Judges were impressed by this submission which “won convincingly in terms of scores”.

The agency rated 13% of the Chinese local investment and development companies (LIDC) sector issuance and 5% of all sector issuance in 2022.

As a full subsidiary of China Lianhe, the firm has become a trusted name among Chinese investors, providing independent and objective credit rating services.

Having been a joint venture (JV) with Fitch for 10 years from 2007-2017, the rating agency has built a body of international expertise to rival the Big Three agencies.

In terms of key transactions, it participated in the largest LIDC offshore US dollar bond deal, through Qingdao City Construction Investment 2 Group’s 4.8% issuance in June 2022.

The transaction carried both international Big Three and Chinese offshore ratings so as to provide investors with an all-round perspective and reduce information asymmetry. This highly successful deal was rated “BBB+” by Fitch and “A” by Lianhe.

The firm is becoming the go-to rating agency in China, where its leading market position, robust criteria and best-in-class research is helping issuers to lower financing costs, influence and set competitive bond prices.


Best Bank, Best ESG Impact, Most Innovative Use of Technology: DBS Bank

DBS HK stood head and shoulders above its rivals in no fewer than three categories in this international section.

As Best Bank, it delivered an exceptional financial performance in 2022, with a remarkable 19% YoY growth in net profit at a record HK$8.2 billion.

These impressive results were driven by a 16% increase in total income, with net interest income (NII) rising by 30% to HK$10.5 billion, benefitting from interest rate hikes and an improved net interest margin (NIM) of 1.47%.

Despite challenging market conditions, non-interest income remained stable at HK$6.1 billion, reflecting the resilience of DBS’ diversified franchise.

In terms of sustainability, the bank committed S$20.5 billion ($15.3 billion) in sustainable loans, including green, renewables, SLL, and S$480 million in transition financing. Cumulatively, its sustainable financing transactions reached S$39.4 billion, showcasing significant impact in driving sustainable development and responsible finance practices.

Also notable, are the bank’s risk assessment practices which set a standard for the industry in terms of ESG impact.

The bank’s due diligence process ensures customer adherence to its standards through monitoring progress on past incidents; tracking negative media and activist campaigns; encouraging client adoption of international standards; and following up on agreed mitigating measures.

As for its technological innovation, the bank impressed with its incredible suite of digitalised products ranging from retail and wealth management offerings, through to treasury and corporate banking.

Having placed increased emphasis on its digital solutions, DBS work under the slogan “More like a start-up, less like a bank”.

Best Investment Bank: Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

“A stellar performance in an important region,” judges said of Crédit Agricole’s submission. Its role in some of the city’s key transactions tells you all you need to know about this dynamic French bank.

These included Towngas Smart Energy’s debut sustainability-linked bond (SLB), where it acted as sole SLB structuring advisor and JGC; and Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation (HKMC)’s inaugural social bond – the world’s first dual-tranche HK dollar (HKD) and Chinese yuan (CNH) social bond, where it led as joint social, green and sustainability (SGS) structuring advisor and JGC.

All of this came against a challenging market backdrop. Its market position, however, continues to be strong.

According to Bloomberg’s HK dollar bond league table, Crédit Agricole ranked number 2 for 2022, maintaining its 2021 position. The bank’s market share was 11% – beating two of the three note-issuing banks in HK, Bank of China (HK) and Standard Chartered.

Across dim sum bond deals, it was ranked number 2 for 2022, again consistent with 2021, and achieving a market share of 12% in 2022 – beating Bank of China (HK) and Standard Chartered once more.

In the ESG space, among key 2022 initiatives, it appointed a head of Asia ESG syndicate in HK to provide clients additional value. Regarding products, it introduced a green repo as a complementary green refinancing tool to a green bond.

“The use of proceeds of this innovative financing structure fulfils the purpose of driving more capital into green projects and directly supports the global climate transition,” the submission wrote.  Crédit Agricole completed two reverse green repos with Industrial Bank and Bank of China (HK) in 2022.

Best Sustainable Bank: MUFG Bank

As a market leader in issuing, underwriting and arranging GSSS facilities, MUFG had a busy year in 2022 closing no fewer than 30 ESG deals worth more than $48 billion.

It has also worked to expand its sustainable products in a highly dynamic ESG market.

“Over the past year, we have added sustainability-linked derivatives, green trade finance and green deposits to increase our relevance to the client base in HK,” the MUFG team said in its submission.
MUFG led from the front in a number of 24-carat transactions.

These included CLP Power HK’s JPY15 billion ($106 million) syndicated samurai SLL facility in which MUFG was appointed as sole mandated lead arranger, underwriter and bookrunner (MLAUB), sole sustainability coordinator, sole swap bank and facility agent.

The deal marked the first ESG-linked transaction for CLP Power in the Japanese market. Receiving an overwhelming response, it underscored the bank’s extensive distribution network and in-depth understanding of the credit appetite of a broad spectrum of Japanese investors.

Meanwhile, the bank worked on Kingboard Laminates’ HK$7 billion ($107 million) inaugural syndicated SLL facility, attracting 10 lenders in syndication.

Sustainability performance targets were linked to reducing levels of greenhouse gas emission output per tonne of finished product, as well as social sustainability indicators such as an increase in staff  training hours per annum.

The transaction received a very strong response, with 1.59-times oversubscription, such that the loan size was increased from  a HK$5 billion  target to HK$7 billion.

But perhaps its biggest achievement for 2022,was its role in a HK$20.7 billion facility for Sun Hung Kai Properties, marking the largest syndicated SLL by a real estate issuer in HK and a market record at the time.

Most Progressive DEI: Citi

Judges were impressed by Citi’s ability to expand the categories of DEI.

Where most organisations have policies that hinge merely on gender and pay, Citi HK has been active in broadening the scope. Its initiatives across the LGBTQ+ community were highly commended.

Key efforts were as expansive as they were comprehensive and included launching programmes such as the Citi Disability Network in HK, where the bank worked with external partners to build and create awareness around disability inclusion through organised learning sessions.
Citi also drove participation in an instructor-led training series for all staff to recognise and tackle unconscious bias.

It further strengthened its New Hire Orientation programme to include information on DEI and employee network engagements to share resources, encourage participation and raise awareness.

Celebrating DEI through participation in relevant global and industry-wide events, was also a notable feature which included International Women’s Day, various internal events during Pride Month, and a Pink Friday celebration to showcase LGBTQ+ community support.

Critically, the bank increased paid maternity leave to 16 weeks and introduced parental leave of four weeks. Maternity leave applies to all birthing parents while parental leave covers all non-birthing parents, regardless of gender or birth type (for example, adoption or surrogacy). This may also includes same-sex partners and those in domestic partnerships.

The bank has expanded its DEI focus to include racial identity, signing the Racial Diversity and Inclusion Charter for Employers issued by the Equal Opportunities Commission.



Best Bank: HSBC

HSBC has been a strong part of South Korea’s growth story and the bank’s pivot towards sustainable finance will ensure that it continues to do so for some time to come.

In terms of raw numbers, the bank performed well in 2022, posting a PBT of $166 million, marking a 21% improvement on the previous year.

The bank operates as one of the largest international bank branches and has a leading securities business in Korea, offering universal capabilities in commercial and investment banking.

By continuously offering market-first products and providing advisory services, HSBC aims to establish itself as the best ESG bank in Korea and is already making its name in some record-breaking mega-transactions.

HSBC Korea structured a $2 billion lending facility for SK On, a Korean EV battery maker, to fund the construction of a new EV battery plant in Hungary.

The bank acted as the Export Credit Agency (ECA) coordinator, green loan coordinator, MLA, and lender for the facility, which was backed by three ECAs.

This deal was the largest ECA-supported financing sponsored by a Korean company in the past five years and the largest ECA-backed deal ever in the EV battery sector.

HSBC also supported Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution in their JV to build an EV battery factory in Indonesia. The bank acted as a MLA and lender for a KSURE-covered facility worth $711 million, helping fund the construction which is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and aligns with Hyundai’s goal to produce only EVs by 2040.

HSBC Korea has also introduced several market-first products that have reshaped the industry. They acted as the sole bookrunner and sole ESG structuring bank for KDB’s inaugural Mexican peso bond in green bond format, the first n the local Mexican market.

The bank also acted as JBR and lead manager for Shinhan Bank’s $500 million climate bond, the first of its kind in South Korea.

Best Investment Bank: Citi

Citi is a full-service investment bank in Korea, combining investment capabilities with the strengths of a fully-fledged corporate banking business.

In terms of offerings, there is little to hold a candle to Citi in the South Korean market.
It is a clear leader in Korean M&A, with unrivalled expertise and a cumulative track record across a broad range of industries. It has also been at the forefront of some of the country’s biggest transactions.

Citi advised Unison Capital Korea and the founding family on the sale of a 100% stake in Medit worth $2 billion March 2023; the largest shareholder on sale of a 53% stake in Iljin Materials also worth $2 billion; and Samsung BioLogics on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Samsung Epsis, for $2.3 billion.

In terms of mega-deals, however, Citi advised SK Hynix on its acquisition of Intel’s Nand Memory Business for $9 billion in one of the largest deals of its kind.

The bank was also out in front in terms of DCM transactions, executing across more than $4.5 billion in deals, according to Dealogic. It acted as global bond JBR for Korea Housing Finance Corporation in its $1.3 billion raise, and as global bond JBR for a $3.5 billion raise for Korea Eximbank.

Other key transactions included that for steel manufacturer, Posco, which priced a $2 billion 144A/Reg S 3-year fixed rate (FXD), 5-year FXD and 10-year FXD offering. The transaction marked the largest ever issuance by the South Korean steel giant.

Best Sustainable Bank: Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Despite challenging market conditions, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) continues to serve clients in South Korea where it has been a top dealmaker in the sustainable finance space and has gained impressive rankings.

According to Dealogic, the bank was the number 1 bookrunner for GSSS bonds in 2022, across all currencies.

The French bank maintains a strong focus and leadership position in the ESG space. In 2022, it further enhanced capabilities by adding a head of Asia ESG syndicate at its Apac head office, aiming to provide additional value to clients in the region.

The bank has played a leading role in various landmark transactions in Korea, acting as JBR and JLM for Industrial Bank of Korea’s social bond in October 2022; as JBR and JLM for Korea Water Resources Corporation’s green bond in April 2022; and assisting with updating the company’s Green Financing Framework.

Crédit Agricole was also at the forefront of Nonghyup’s social bond issuance, where dual tranches were issued to finance projects falling within the Eligible Social Assets category. These include projects offering access to essential services, affordable housing and basic infrastructure; while also supporting employment generation and offering microfinance facilities.

The bank has introduced innovative products like sustainability-linked bond forwards, which embed sustainability-linked structures into an Obligations assimilables du Trésor (OAT) bond forward. This product incorporates two key performance indicators (KPIs) aimed at enhancing the issuer’s ESG ratings.



Best Bank: CTBC Bank

A solid financial performance by CTBC Bank garnered it our Best Bank in Taiwan award. It stands at first rank among its peers in terms of revenue, profit and capital scale.

2022 was a record year for CTBC, posting a net profit of NT$37.1 billion ($1.21 billion), up 25% YoY with cost-to-income ratio at 55.9%; return on assets (ROA) at 0.74%; and earnings per share (EPS) at $2.51.

Despite the negative impact from the Covid-19 pandemic and a volatile market, the bank maintained a balanced and diversified business model that ensured resilient earnings.

Moody’s raised its credit rating to A1 in 2022, reflecting the strength of the bank’s asset quality and recent capitalisations.

As an investment bank, it led 140 deals, including 75 financing deals where it acted as MLAB and MLA; and 21 bond underwritings. Some 64% of these transactions were sourced overseas.

Best Broker, Best DCM House, Best Investment Bank: Yuanta Securities

Yuanta Securities is recognised as Taiwan’s top integrated securities firm and is considered the market leader in various areas of the securities industry.

“On the tech and transaction side, this was a very interesting submission,” judges said of its comprehensive entry.

As an investment bank, Yuanta Securities maintained its position – as it has done for many years – as the top-ranked underwriter in the Taiwan dollar bond market. Throughout 2022, the firm participated in bond transactions that garnered a market share of 18.38%.

As a broker, the firm led all securities firms in Formosa bond underwriting, with a total market share of 11.66%. It underwrote 29 Formosa bond transactions during the award period, amounting to $2.03 billion.

In its role across DCM, Yuanta demonstrated extensive involvement in Taiwan’s primary market through strong performance in bond underwriting, responsible for a total of 105 domestic bonds amounting to NT$100.475 billion ($3.25 billion).

Yuanta has a deep understanding of SLBs and has actively participated in the promotion of sustainable development bonds and new financial products.

The firm played a key role as exclusive underwriter for Far Eastern New Century (FENC)’s SLB and served as co-underwriter for the Chimei Corporation SLB, both of which were listed on the Taipei Exchange (TPEx) in September 2022.

Overall, the business has maintained a strong presence in the bond issuance market; has demonstrated industry leadership; and expanded its issuer- and investor-base through various strategies.

Best Sustainable Bank, Most Progressive DEI: E. Sun Bank

E. Sun Bank has set some ambitious targets in terms of sustainability – but given its performance over 2022, it is in a better position than most to achieve them.

Its sustainability goals include to reach net zero by 2050; phase out coal-related industries by 2035; achieve a 42% reduction in the carbon footprint of its operations by 2030; have a green loan balance of NT$70 billion ($2.28 billion); and a SLL balance of NT$32 billion by 2025.

Its 2022 results already show great progress. Its green loan balance sits at NT$30.7; its SLLs at NT$28.4 billion; its SLBs at NT$20.9 billion; and its hedging and consulting services for sustainability-linked projects stand at NT$16.3 billion.

Sustainability has also fed into its capability as a prominent player in the Taiwanese bond market, where it has emerged as a rising star in recent years.

In 2022, the bank participated in 100% of Taiwanese sustainable international bond issuances as an underwriter. Its success in the domestic market and its increased market share in Taiwan’s international market highlight its strong performance.

In terms of DEI, the bank has demonstrated a dedication to inclusive financial services and a diverse corporate culture. However, most interesting for our judging panel was its support for SMEs as part of its social commitment.

E.Sun collaborated with business partners and government resources to support these businesses during the pandemic, launching its Small and Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund, which helps SMEs obtain credit guarantors to secure critical business funds in order to build robust financial structures and thrive.

Most Innovative Use of Technology: Taishin Bank

Taishin Bank has made innovative use of technology in creating an open banking ecosystem and optimising customer experience through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Judges were impressed by a submission that had “interesting developments for consumer banking”.
The key innovation here involved the development of an in-house applicatoin programming interface (API) management platform covering various operational functions such as planning, design, construction and others.

The bank has completed numerous cross-industry applications with these API connections, including securities account opening, bill payment, tax payment, and real-time decision-making management.

The bank has also developed a new business model that leveragesVR and AR to optimise customer experience – making interaction with financial services a fully immersive experience.

The bank’s launch of the Taishin Innovative Financial Laboratory marked another industry first, through which it drives innovation and technical integration to support business process transformation.


Best Bank: HSBC

HSBC had a market leading performance in Taiwan in 2022 and the numbers prove it.

The bank’s PBT stood at $191 million, up 89% YoY. Its liquidity coverage ratio of 138% and net stable funding ratio of 152%, displayed an enviable liquidity position.

HSBC was the only full-scale international bank in Taiwan to post YoY PBT growth in 2022, thanks in large part, to balanced and diversified earnings streams.

Customer growth remained strong among all segments, with new-to-bank customer acquisition for HSBC Premier and Advance achieving 107% and 44% YoY, respectively.

In terms of products, customers were spoiled for choice and the bank deftly charted interest rises with its positioning.

It reprioritised bond and rate-linked structured notes for customer core holdings to capture the opportunity of the rising interest rate cycle. As a consequence, both the bank’s transaction volume and customers doubled, reaching record highs.

It focussed on new-to-insurance customer penetration to fulfil customer legacy demand and new ly launched helped  absorb investment headwinds and rate competition under the rising cycle.
It also established the first Wealth Centre in its Taipei flagship branch in December 2022, providing best-in-class and exclusive wealth management services to Private Banking and Premier Elite customers.

Significantly, HSBC achieved a historically high trust assets under management (AUM) market share at 1.64% with 23% growth YoY. This rate ranked number 1 among all banks, and was mainly contributed to by bonds.

Best Investment Bank: Goldman Sachs

Take Taiwan’s position as a globally intense geopolitical hotspot – add to that Covid-19, a semiconductor down cycle, and market volatility from rising interest rates – and any bank would have its work cut out.

However, it takes an investment bank of Goldman Sachs (GS) calibre to turn these challenges into opportunities and to deliver on strategic priorities for Taiwanese clients.In 2022, GS’ Taiwan-based team managed to continue to grow its revenue despite market uncertainty and global banking contraction.

In terms of deal value league tables, the bank ranked number 2 in completed M&A, top in DCM and number 4 in ECM.

“We are the only bank that is ranked Top Four in all of these categories,” said its entry.

In addition to a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) $3.5 billion senior notes deal, GS acted as sole global coordinator and sole bookrunner in the company’s $1 billion dual-tranche 144A/Reg S senior notes offering, in July 2022.

“The well-addressed credit story attracted substantial interest from global high-quality investors, which led to an extraordinarily strong bookbuilding momentum,” the bank shared.

In M&A and the ECM space, apart from the $3.8 billion sale of Silicon Motion to MaxLinear and Taiwan Cement’s $425 million GDR offering – the largest deals in their own product spaces – GS successfully closed a transaction for Gogoro to become a US-listed company through a $2.35 billion merger with Poema Global Holdings.

This was the first-ever and largest Taiwanese de-Spac transaction, where GS acted as financial advisor to Gogoro, assisting the company in creating an ESG-friendly transportation environment.

Best Sustainable Bank: MUFG Bank

With a focus on the offshore wind segment, MUFG has played key role in renewable project financing in Taiwan.

The bank has acted as a financial advisor for no fewer than 29 projects to date, including serving as a financial advisor in 2022 for Asia’s largest offshore wind project, Hai Long.

With a comprehensive global network, the bank’s strong suit is advisory and execution. MUFG has seen a significant increase in the volume of ESG deals in Taiwan, closing 12 such transactions in 2022 amounting to $2 billion. It served as sustainability coordinator or sole lender for 11 out of the 12 deals closed in Taiwan in the period, showcasing its segment expertise.

Key deals included:

  • SYNNEX’s debut ESG financing – a NT$1.5 billion SLL facility in which MUFG acted as the sole lender.
  • KKR-owned LCY Chemical Corp’s $1.2 billion multi-tranche syndicated SLL, in which MUFG participated as a MLA.The deal marked MUFG’s first leveraged finance transaction with KKR in Asia, and the largest sponsor-leveraged finance transaction completed in Taiwan.

Overall, MUFG’s expertise in sustainable finance, its involvement in significant ESG deals, and its track record in renewable project financing demonstrated leadership in sustainable banking.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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