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

Read the rationale behind our jury’s selection of Southeast 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: Cambodian Public Bank

For a bank that has been in business for just 20 years, Cambodian Public Bank – or Campu Bank – has carved out a strong position in a growing market.

Judges were impressed by its solid growth, good numbers and, above all, its focus on the motor force of the Cambodian market: its SMEs.

To support these up-and-coming players, Campu Bank launched the Swift-SME Plan to provide them access to cheaper financing.

As well, its joint partnership with the Credit Guarantee Corporation of Cambodia (CGCC) led to the launch of the Business Recovery Guarantee Scheme, which provides 70-80% of loan principle amount to customers who lack acceptable collateral for a Campu Bank loan.

It is thanks to programmes like these that the bank’s loan book saw a healthy uptick in 2022. Gross loans, advances and lending increased by 7.6% from $1.17 billion in 2021, to $1.29 billion by 2023.

2022 was a tough year for most regional banks, but for an emerging economy like Cambodia, the burden of risk fell even heavier on the nation’s start-up community.

Campu was at the forefront of providing loan moratoriums to distressed customers, and it worked to restructure and reschedule loans for eligible individuals and business owners.

Throughout the award period, Campu Bank approved $75.78 million in revised repayment, restructuring and rescheduling, for 183 customers.

The bank also successfully collaborated with developers of affordable housing projects, offering borrowers in this segment preferential loan interest rates.

Ranked at number 5 among the 60 banks active in the market, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), Campu is one of Cambodia’s largest banks in terms of asset size and is among the market leaders in terms of deposits, loans and profitability.

Add to this its prudent management, superior customer service and strong corporate governance and Campu was the standout submission in this category.



Best Bank: PT Bank Central Asia

The loan book is at the heart of any successful banking business and PT Bank Central Asia (BCA) seized the opportunities of the post-Covid-19 resurgence in Indonesia to drive its loan portfolio to double-digit growth.

With demand rising since the 4Q21, the bank’s loan growth registered 11.7% growth YoY across segments from corporate and commercial, to SMEs and consumers.

Credit quality also showed significant improvement, with loans at risk (LAR) decreasing to 10% from 14.6% (2021) and NPLs standing at 1.7% — a sharp decline compared with 2.2% in 2021.

Altogether this was a profitable year for BCA and one which judges felt reflected solid management.

The bank’s operating income increased by 11.5%, driven by growth in both NII of 14% YoY and operating income other than interest (non-interest income) of 5.1% YoY.

Growth was propelled by a 10.1% increase in interest income, which was supported by an uptick in the volume of earning assets – especially loans and government bonds, and a decrease in interest expenses of 13.1% YoY, in line with a gradual reduction in interest rates of third-party funds in 2021 and early 2022.

With a more optimised asset mix and higher interest rate on short term asset placement, net interest margin (NIM) showed a consistent upward trend in every quarter and reached 5.3% in FY22 versus 5.1% in FY21.

Judges were also impressed by the bank’s success in leveraging technology to drive its transaction business; its application across business sectors; and capability to solidify its presence through a “hybrid” model, by continuously developing digital channels.

Throughout 2022, BCA implemented the Quick Response Code Indonesia Standard (QRIS) QR-code-enabled cross-border payment feature via its mobile offering, which is also available to use in Thailand.

The bank also introduced enhanced features to the myBCA super app, such as biometric login access and integration with Welma, BCA’s wealth management apps, placing BCA at the forefront of retail banking.

Best Broker: PT Mirae Asset Sekuritas

Indonesia’s Mirae Asset Sekuritas impressed judges not only with a successful rebrand of its mutual fund platform (Navi by Mirae) – which reached IDR1 billion ($67 million) of assets under administration within nine months of launch – but also through its innovative social media strategy.

In a bid to boost financial literacy in Indonesia, Mirae has used YouTube to phenomenal effect, disrupting the local equity brokerage scene with more than 600 YouTube videos and Instagram posts aimed at onboarding young retail investors.

In September 2022, it achieved an amazing milestone, becoming the first Indonesian securities company to be honoured with the Youtube Silver Play Button when it surpassed 100,000 subscribers.

Other fundamentals were strong, despite challenging market conditions that impacted revenues.

Mirae Asset Sekuritas had an 8.12% market share in terms of transaction value in 2022, ranking it the market’s number 1 broker. Stripping off block transactions, it ranks top with a 9.4% market share, a position it has held for three consecutive years.

While the online brokerage is concentrating its focus on the retail rather than institutional space, it has plans to ramp up its capabilities to target local institutional and global businesses.

Best DCM House, Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: PT Mandiri Sekuritas

PT Mandiri Sekuritas further cemented its leading position in Indonesia with key deals across ECM, DCM and as the investment bank of choice, behind the country’s biggest launches.

Headline figures were impressive, as was the firm’s execution.

“There was really very little debate about this one,” said judges, adding that Mandiri dominated the field.

In 2022, the house closed the year stronger than ever with total revenue of IDR1.287 trillion ($86 million), an increase of 4.3% over the IDR1.234 trillion achieved in 2021. Net profit after tax (PAT) in 2022 increased by 7.4%, from IDR321 billion in 2021. 

In terms of revenue composition, the business’s investment banking arm accounted for 43%; its capital market team for 26%; retail 24%; and Mandiri Securities Singapore – its foreign distribution capability, for 7%.

The key event contributing to this strong performance was the bank’s participation in ride-hailing giant, GoTo’s IDR15.8 trillion IPO.

Mandiri Sekuritas served as joint lead underwriter at the forefront of Indonesia’s biggest IPO yet, marking a significant milestone regionally with GoTo becoming the first decacorn (a company with a valuation exceeding $10 billion) to list on a Southeast Asian stock exchange.

In terms of DCM, Mandiri Sekuritas was no less active, particularly when it came to green bond issuance.

“They have a strong presence in Indonesia and they are doing global bond deals as well,” judges said of the entry.

Great underwriting capability saw Mandiri Sekuritas close Bank Negara Indonesia’s (BNI) IDR5 trillion green bond issuance and that of the same size for Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI). Both achieved orderbooks at three times the offered size, thanks to excellent book coverage from Indonesia’s most prominent fixed income investors. Its ability to push final pricing towards low-end coupons on the back of a strong book-build came despite volatility and the long tail of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other notable achievements included its participation as lead advisor in Garuda Indonesia’s $9.8 billion corporate debt restructuring – the biggest to date in the market.

Add to this Freeport Indonesia’s $3 billion senior notes; PT Wahana Inti Selaras’ (Wisel) IDR2 trillion bond issuance; and the Bank Syariah Indonesia’s (BRIS) rights issue – the largest sharia rights issue in Indonesia’s banking market to date; and 2022 wrapped up a profitable year for the Indonesian capital market veteran.

Mandiri Sekuritas remains among the top five equity underwriters, traders, bond underwriters and liability managers in Indonesia.

Best ESG Impact, Best Sustainable Bank, Most Innovative Use of Technology: PT Bank Mandiri

Indonesia’s commodity boom was unstoppable in 2022. Exports worth $292 billion were responsible for its massive 26.1% YoY growth. However, most of these exports came from heavily polluting industries such as iron, steel, fossil energy, and crude palm oil.

With Indonesia’s timeline for energy transition to net zero set to 2060, there is plenty of work for the country’s banks in terms of sustainability practice.

PT Bank Mandiri was among the busiest during the award period with judges noting the bank’s commitment to its sustainable product suite. By any standards, its sustainable portfolio – worth IRD228.8 trillion ($14.69 billion) – is huge and growing, representing 24.5% of bank-only loans in the market and increasing by 11.4% YoY.

Within this sector, clean transportation grew 53% YoY, renewable energy 44% YoY, and MSMEs by 30% YoY. Growth was supported by a range of SLLs, as well as several green financing options in the retail segment, including residential solar panels, EVs and green mortgages.

The bank also excelled in terms of ESG impact, launching the first ESG repo in Indonesia amounting to $500 million; sustainable bonds worth $300 million; and green mutual funds. All of these efforts were backed up by a raft of bank policies that confirm its commitment to ESG outcomes.

The bank has committed itself to three objectives in this sector: leading Indonesia’s transition to a low carbon economy; achieving net zero emissions for operations by 2030; and catalysing social impact to achieve the UN’s SDGs. To achieve these goals, it has aligned its sustainability framework with a three-pillar strategy that involves nine initiatives, as outlined in its 2023-2027 Corporate Action Plan.

In terms of technology, the bank also stacked up achievements in 2022. Its app “Livin’ by Mandiri” recorded impressive results, with more than 2 billion transactions worth a total of IRD2,500 trillion ($185 million), showing an increase in revenue of more than 50% over the award period. Within the last year, the app has been downloaded 22 million times, with 80% of these constituting monthly active users.

Mindful of the fact that many Indonesians now live and work overseas, the bank recently permitted users of the app to open an account from outside Indonesia, to benefit from foreign exchange transfers at a lower cost compared with offerings from the fintech community.

The app also offers a feature for customers to purchase mutual funds in auto-instalments starting from IRD100,000. Purchasing bonds digitally been a coup for Mandiri, with some 60% of purchases made through the app alone. The app has supported transaction volume growth of 21 times in the space of 10 months.

Most Progressive DEI: PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia

There is no way to avoid it – at the heart of DEI strategy is the issue of renumeration and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) impressed judges with a track record on equal pay to envy.

“One of tangible forms of anti-discrimination policies is guarantees related to wages that are not differentiated based on gender,” the BRI submission wrote.

With a salary strategy that aims to encourage a performance-driven culture by providing cash compensation based on merit, the bank works to provide compensation that is directly proportional to employee.

Roles from senior executive vice president down to a humble assistant showed gender parity in pay, with executive vice president roles commanding substantially more.

In 2022, BRI offered wage increases to employees based on merit, providing incentives and bonuses to boost employee motivation. Notably, the bank provides wages that are above minimal standard for the region.

Moreover, some 8,008 employees were promoted during the award period – around 8.93% of total BRI staff.

Several fundamental rights of which BRI is particularly cognisant, are those of freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to organise within its operations and among its suppliers.

“During 2020-2022, there were no violations related to freedom of association and collective bargaining with unions among BRI’s operations or suppliers,” the submission detailed.

Ultimately, the business views remuneration across its staff as a form of investment in human collateral.


Best Bank, Best Investment Bank: BNP Paribas

Indonesia was one of the great growth stories of the region in 2022, meaning an active year for global banks in the country. BNP Paribas, however, stood head and shoulders above its rivals in commanding outstanding results and some impressive firsts.

With a client-centric approach that leveraged its extensive global network, BNP Paribas delivered advisory, financing, product structuring and client solutions as part of its “One Bank,” one-stop shop approach, making it the go-to bank for corporates.

Corporate banking has always been a strong suit for the French bank, which has been active in Indonesia since 1970, providing cash management, hedging, trade finance, commodity finance and more.

Landmark deals during the award period included exclusive advice across the divestment of Bank Maspion to Kasikornbank (KBank) in November 2022.

KBank increased its ownership in Bank Maspion to 67.5% through acquisition of existing shares and subscription to new shares, in a partnership that marks an important milestone in its drive towards greater integration of its Thai businesses into markets within the Asean Economic Community.

BNP Paribas also supported a wide range of clients to access the capital markets in benchmark transactions, including the Indonesian mining group, Mind ID’s $1 billion cash tender offer in July 2022.

In the first ever such transaction in Asia, BNP Paribas played a lead role across the three bonds with hit rates (the percentage of positions that have generated positive returns over a given period) of 53%, 40% and 54% respectively, for 2048s, 2028s and 2023s. This is in spite of moderate premiums offered and the fact that the 2023s had already been tendered previously.

In terms of its investment bank operations, BNP Paribas displayed a deep understanding of a complex local market, stewarding advisory deals that required an extensive network and strong local execution.

Its leading position in Indonesia could be seen in investment banking product league tables where it has held a top 5 position for more than four years in M&A, DCM, ECM and loan syndication.

Best Sustainable Bank: MUFG Bank

The breadth and depth of MUFG’s sustainability deals was what attracted judges to this submission which spanned geographies, products and client groups.

Highlighting “Asia’s Just Transition”, Japan’s biggest bank has focussed on leading some of the region’s largest sustainability-linked transactions.

“We have developed a comprehensive sustainable finance strategy that aims to support a ‘Just Transition’ across the region,” said Richard Yorke, MUFG’s head of global corporate and investment banking for Apac.

Despite tough market conditions in 2022, MUFG succeeded in putting itself at the front of multi-billion dollar projects in the region. These included: India-based HDFC’s $1.1 billion three-year syndicated social loan, the largest in the world and the largest external commercial borrowing deal from a NBFI in India; the Export-Import Bank of Korea’s (Eximbank) $3 billion multi-tranche SEC global bond offering, which was the largest transaction size ever achieved by a non-sovereign Korean issuer; BRI’s $1 billion syndicated SLL facility – Indonesia’s largest SLL and the first to be issued by a Southeast Asian Bank.

MUFG’s social welfare efforts were not just limited to the private sector either. Throughout the award period, the bank actively engaged sovereign issuers across the region on their sustainability strategies. This included, work to support through its subsidiary, Krungsri Group, the Thai Ministry of Finance’s THB35 billion ($1 billion) 14.75-year sustainability bond – the order book closed 3.15-times oversubscribed; and the Republic of Philippines’ (RoP)’s JPY70.1 billion ($500 million) multi-tranche samurai sustainability bond. The deal marked the first samurai sustainability bond issuance in the market, and the first 20-year note issued by RoP.



Best Bank, Best ESG Impact, Best Sustainable Bank: Public Bank Berhad

The Public Bank Berhad posted strong numbers this year as it rode the wave of Malaysia’s strong economics, making it the standout choice for our judges in this category.

The group’s PBT grew by 19.9% to RM8.83 billion ($1.95 billion) in 2022, surpassing the RM8 billion mark for the first time.

Cognisant of the fact that healthy liquidity is at the heart of a bank’s operations, the increase in PBT was mainly due to robust loans and deposits growth, as well as the positive effects of rate hikes.

Net profit also rose by 8.2% to RM6.12 billion, after taking into consideration the impact of a one-off prosperity tax – a 2022 budget measure imposed on companies that have chargeable income in excess of RM100 million. But perhaps most impressive was the group’s ability to sustain a net ROE of 12.8% in 2022, the highest among Malaysia’s banks.

The group remained the most cost-efficient bank, with a cost-to-income ratio of 31.5%, outperforming the banking industry average of 44.2%. Its total assets grew by 6.6% to RM493.26 billion, primarily supported by the expansion in loans portfolio.

Gross loans, advances and financing grew by 5.3% to RM376.89 billion – mainly attributable to domestic loan growth of 5.2%. Its domestic market share for loans remained stable at 17.4% as at the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, the bank’s strong use of  preferential pricing to scale ESG impact and drive forward its sustainability strategy caught the eye of the jury.

Mindful of its role as a catalyst in the Malaysia’s transition to a low carbon economy, the bank has concentrated on broadening the scale and scope of its green financing solutions.

With a particular focus on energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), the bank surpassed its target of providing RM25 billion in financing for these ahead of its 2025 deadline, successfully mobilising more than RM30 billion during the award period.

Accounting for close to 52% of the group’s total domestic hire purchase financing portfolio, the bank plans to slide the dial forward, targeting EEV financing of RM33 billion by 2025.

A big commitment to domestic solar power has also been a successful initiative by the group’s subsidiary, Public Islamic Bank. Its special financing packages – the Solar Plus BAE Personal Financing-i and Solar BAE Term Financing-i – offer attractive schemes covering up to 100% of the cost of the solar panel packages.

“Public Bank Berhad is using its operational business model to drive impact,” the judging panel said. “This is exactly the kind of activity we love to see companies execute.”

Public’s green financing facilities – where the group has identified 72 environmentally friendly economic activities, from the construction of green buildings to clean transportation initiatives – have been popular due to preferential pricing. At the end of 2022, it had approved more than RM620 million ($136 million) worth of such facilities.

In terms of social impact, the bank is promoting financial inclusion through initiatives. Its affordable housing schemes target first-time house buyers from lower income groups. In 2022, the group assisted more than 31,000 customers to purchase homes, representing more than 57% of its newly approved residential property loans.

In total, the group has committed to mobilising RM48 billion in ESG-friendly financing, which in support of the UN’s SDGs.

Best Broker: CGS-CIMB Securities

As a non-investment bank, CGS-CIMB Securities has enjoyed a strong position in the Malaysian market and continues to lead there, moving up the league tables to now occupy the top slot.

The firm is ranked number 1 by trading volume, with its market share increasing to 11.71% in 2022, from 11.27% in 2021.

It ended the year moving up two places to prime position in the Bursa Participating Organisations’ Broker Ranking, all in the face of general market uncertainty.

While profits slumped in 2022 in line with the global bear market, there were still some convincing runs on the board for this brokerage.

AUM across its wealth management business grew 11% higher than its internal target for the year; its day trader headcount increased by 51%; and it conducted an Equity Price Participation Structure for its first corporate client.

The company also launched Malaysia’s first shariah compliant futures in August 2022, with more than 600 sign-ups within the first month.

Key transactions during the award period included those for Inari Amertron, Farm Fresh and Mr DIY. Key institutional deals included those across the real estate, food and beverages and telecommunications sectors.

Offering a whole suite of products and services including equities, derivatives, margin financing, Islamic stockbroking, online trading platform, and IPO services, the firm caters to a wide clientele of over 200,000 institutional and retail investors in Malaysia.

Overall, judges were impressed by its ability to further cement its position in this key Southeast Asian market.

Best DCM House, Most Progressive DEI: CIMB

CIMB rang up the superlatives with a strong DCM submission this year taking pole position in league tables for domestic ringgit and sukuk bonds, as the largest Malaysian ringgit sukuk arranger, and across Asean local currency bonds.

During the award period, CIMB commanded a nominal DCM volume of $8.8 billion in the region, accounting for 10% market share across Asean local currency bonds – with almost double the market share of its nearest competitor.

Locally, it held on to its place in the Malaysian Ringgit Bonds League Table in 2022 – a record it has held for 17 years, commanding a market share of 26%.

Against a challenging economic backdrop, CIMB took the lead in key deals. Chief among them was the Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Berhad RM25.2 billion Islamic medium-term note facility in December 2022, where the bank successfully lead-managed the largest consent solicitation exercise in the ringgit sukuk markets to date. It was also the largest ringgit-denominated corporate sukuk of 2022, no mean feat considering the market volatility and the year-end timing of the issuance.

Judges were impressed by a stellar output that saw CIMB take 13.2% market share of the investment fees and 36.6% for market share in investment bank transactions.

The bank also made positive strides on the DEI front. It is closing the gender gap by actively promoting women to leadership roles (up from 38.2% in 2020, to 42.4% in 2022), and making sure that remuneration is reviewed and readjusted.

“Our policy of non-discrimination ensures that employees are selected, developed, progressed and rewarded based on merit, and are able to equally access available opportunities within the group,” the bank wrote in its submission.

It has worked hard to ensure that the steps it takes in terms of DEI are truly measurable, with its methodology for gender pay gap analysis comparing the average pay of men and women by function (profit-generating vs. enablers) and seniority levels.

“Based on this comparison, since 2020, the pay gap between genders at various seniority levels at the overall group level has not exceeded 5%,” the submission wrote.

Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: Maybank Investment Bank

Teamwork and a well-structured business garnered Maybank a win for the Best Investment Bank category.

The franchise’s deal team comprises a network of expertise – with specialties across Malaysian ringgit, project finance, sustainable finance advisory, fixed income syndicate, sales and trading – all complementing each other in the overall investment banking value chain.

Maybank successfully completed a total of 282 bond and sukuk issuances during the review period, receiving a market-leading total of RM26.9 billion ($5.93 billion).

The bank was involved in eight out of the top 10 largest deals in Malaysia. Landmark deals included Amanat Lebuhraya Rakyat Berhad’s RM5.5 billion sustainability sukuk; Sarawak Petchem’s RM4 billion sukuk wakalah; and Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s RM4 billion sukuk wakalah issuances, to name a few.

Across ECM, Maybank completed six out of the top 10 largest Malaysian equity deals during the period, a testament to its strong track record and leading market share in Malaysia.

“With a brand like Maybank and given their range in this market, there’s no difficulty in awarding them,” the panel said. “Malaysia is an important market and it’s becoming more important over time.”

Completing some 14 ECM transactions during the review period, Maybank raised a total of RM5.6 billion ($1.2 billion). This compares with 11 transactions amounting to RM4.6 billion for the same period last year, and represents a 21.7% YoY increase in transaction value.

Some 85.7% of completed transactions constituted repeat business, up from 71.4% during the last review period.

Their biggest equity transaction was the RM1.06 billion ($1.21 billion) Farm Fresh IPO – Malaysia’s largest since 2021 and the second largest ever IPO in the dairy product sector, for Asean.

A record number of 30 cornerstone investors were secured, including five who were new participants to Malaysia’s IPO scene – the most in Malaysian IPO history.

A strong and sustained demand momentum throughout the IPO process meant that the launch outperformed, hitting 28.1% on first day of debut despite the headwinds of Covid-19 and uncertainties over the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The team also participated from debt financing to M&A advisory services and outsold the other syndicate banks, securing 40.2% of the total institutional offering.

The Yinson RM1.190 rights issue also impressed judges for sheer size and execution. The largest equity issuance in Malaysia during review period, it was the second largest ever for oil and gas in Malaysian corporate history.

This transaction received overwhelming response with shares oversubscribed by around 22.3%, the highest amongst precedent rights transactions above RM500 million in value in Malaysia since 2017.


Best Bank: Citi

Citi’s fortunes have grown in tandem with the expansion of Malaysia’s middle class.

As a global franchise, the bank has been active in Malaysia, not only expanding its client base among emerging affluence in the region, but also becoming the financial advisor and transaction bank of choice for some of Malaysia’s largest corporates.

Judges were impressed by the sheer number of marquee deals which Citi stewarded. These included: a RM750 million ($161 million) private placement for a Malaysian e-wallet and fintech company; advising Liberty Insurance on its acquisition of AmGeneral Holdings for approximately RM2,290 million; and acting as sole hedging counterparty on a US Treasury Lock (T-Lock) deal with a Malaysian airline.

The bank’s ability to leverage a strong brand to improve its offerings, particularly in terms of foreign exchange (FX), also caught the eye of judges, with its electronic suite of FX products aimed at boosting agility for the region’s corporate treasurers.

The CitiFX Pulse platform provides an end-to-end solution for global, regional and local treasury centres, offering real-time capabilities for more than 700 currency pairs. During the period, the solution’s users grew 12% YoY, with more than 17,000 trades booked in excess of $4 billion in volume.

In terms of financials, the bank recorded a total net income of RM1.39 billion for the financial period ending September 30, 2022. This represented 12% growth from a year ago, a better performance than the bank’s rivals in the region.

Despite this higher top line revenue,

Citi’s net profits fell 7% although expenses remained well under control with an operating efficiency ratio at 53.1%.



Best Bank: BDO Unibank

By any standard, this was a stellar year for BDO Unibank and for our judging panel little to gainsay an award for the Philippines’ largest bank.

Net income increased by 33% to a record high of P57.1 billion ($1.02 billion) in 2022 against P42.8 billion in 2021, driven by robust growth across core businesses.

Full-year ROE stood at 13%, with that for 4Q22 further improving to 15.3%. The balance sheet remained solid with a strong capital position and improving asset quality.

More than 95% of the bank’s operating income came from core revenue streams including NII, fees and insurance premiums, with only 2.5% accounted for by trading and FX gains, most of which were generated from client flows.

With a strategy focussed on building strong business franchises to consolidate its leadership position and sustain growth, the bank is targetting three core areas: building a diversified and sustainable earnings stream, one product and market at a time; geographic extension with additional branches and lending offices in provincial areas; product diversification.

Aside from life insurance, wealth management and microfinance (salary and MSME loans), the bank has introduced its BDO Pay mobile wallet and BDO Checkout online payments solution as demand for digital grows.

In terms of market expansion, it has set its sights on the two ends of the spectrum: the underserved sectors and the HNW. Add to this its prudent balance sheet management; sound risk management practices; conservative provisioning; optimal capital and active asset-liability management; and judges said that it had little competition.

Best DCM House: BPI Capital Corporation

BPI Capital continued to cement its position as a market leader in the Philippines’ DCM, with a solid performance in 2022.

Robust execution combined with an extensive distribution network, BPI Capital displayed strong growth to maintain its lead in one of the region’s most exciting emerging markets.

In terms of deals, it acted as a joint lead underwriter for 14 peso-denominated corporate issuances, with an aggregate issue size of around PHP299 billion ($5.3 billion), increasing its number of debt transactions by 27.2%, from 11 transactions last year.

Leading three maiden offers in 2022, key transactions included the bank’s role as joint lead underwriter for Converge ICT Solution’s maiden bond offering. The base issue size of PHP5 billion was 7.89-times oversubscribed – the proceeds of which will be used to fund capital expenditure involving plant equipment for the expansion of fibre network nationwide.

The bank also acted as joint issue manager, joint lead underwriter and JBR on ACEN Corporation’s maiden PHP10 billion Asean green bond. The offer ended up 8.6-times oversubscribed, marking the largest green issuance from a corporate in the Philippine markets in 2022.

It also participated across Cebu Landmasters Inc’s (CLI) maiden issuance, which was well received with the bond pricing at the tightest end of the spread range.

In particular, Converge and CLI’s maiden offerings demonstrated the bank’s commitment to developing the Philippines’ domestic markets.

Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: First Metro Investment Corporation

Judges could not go past this robust submission which outlined First Metro’s prominence in leading some of the country’s biggest deals, completing 16 capital market transactions and accounting for 72% of market share.

Meanwhile, the firm’s intriguing ECM pitch that focussed on its work bringing SMEs to market impressed judges with a commitment to one of the Philippines largest employers.

“There was a lot of competition, but First Metro was literally the elephant in the room,” judges said about the entry. 

By bringing Balai ni Fruitas (Balai) to market via a PHP288.75 million ($5 million) IPO, First Metro mobilised capital not just for the baked goods industry, but for the second-largest employer in the country with a total of 85,106 workers.

“First Metro is not just all about counting deals, but also making the numbers matter,” the company said in its submission.

“Balai’s IPO proved that SMEs can go to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) for their capital raising requirements.”

It also broadened the mix of companies listed on the SME Board.

Across DCM, the firm had one of its best years in 2022, leading a record PHP1.38 trillion total in issuance from both the public and private sectors. The list of companies that came to First Metro for advisory and management expertise reads like a Who’s Who of Philippines’ corporate entities.

It arranged and managed: Ayala Group’s PHP33 billion, PHP15 billion, and PHP12.00 billion fixed rate bonds; SM Group’s PHP30 billion and PHP15 billion fixed rate bonds; Aboitiz Group’s PHP20.00 billion and PHP10.00 billion fixed rate bonds; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company’s PHP23.72 billion fixed rate bonds; Robinsons Land Corporation’s PHP15 billion fixed rate bonds; and Filinvest Land’s PHP11.90 billion fixed rate bonds.

Many of these deals went towards funding renewable projects, expansion of property portfolios, or refinancing debt obligations.

In an advisory capacity, the firm served as exclusive financial advisor for property giant, FedLand in its JV with Nomura Real Estate Development, which resulted in the establishment of Federal Land NRE Global (FNG).

The partnership will work on a 25-year pipeline of projects in the various land banks of FedLand, focussing on four areas – Manila Bay area, Mandaluyong, Cavite, and Cebu – with a total area of 250 hectares. The projects are expected to create 6,000 job opportunities.

Best ESG Impact, Best Sustainable Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has established itself as an ESG and sustainability powerhouse in the Philippines and now heads some of the largest and most far-reaching sustainability deals and programmes in the country. Its agenda guides the integration of sustainability principles into the heart of the bank’s strategy, operations, and risk management framework.

It has also racked up some impressive firsts making it our judges’ pick for Best ESG Impact. In particular, the jury was drawn to BPI’s coal policy which has far-reaching ramifications for other financial institutions in the region.

“This was a really great submission,” the judging panel said. “Transition finance mechanisms have a genuine impact. These are complex and challenging structures with relatively small deal sizes – you have to put a huge amount of effort into it – but the outcome is real-world impact.”

In support of its coal commitment, BPI did not lend to greenfield coal power generation facilities in 2022 and as such, it is the first Philippine bank to give a time-bound coal divestment commitment.

First in the world to finance the early decommissioning of a coal power plant via an energy transition finance (ETF) facility, BPI’s investment banking arm, BPI Capital, served as the deal’s MLA.

This PHP13.7 billion ($250 million) transition mechanism will allow ACEN – the listed energy platform of the Ayala Group – to decommission a 246MW coal-fired power plant in Calaca, Batangas, by 2040 – 15 years ahead of its technical operating life.

BPI’s Sustainable Development Finance (SDF) programme has been operational since 2008, supporting PHP30.96 billion worth of projects in 2022 alone and bringing its cumulative total to PHP 252 billion. 

Adding up to 398 projects that span energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate resilience and sustainable agriculture, the bank estimates its cumulative disbursements will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31 million tCO2e per year.

Renewable energy projects now constitute 51% of BPI’s energy generation portfolio. By way of comparison, renewable energy only comprises 24% of the Philippines’ energy generation mix as of 2022.

Its rollout products also proved innovative. The bank has introduced the Green Saver Time Deposit, a 5-year product that uniquely commits funding for projects with clear environmental benefits such as green buildings. With a minimum placement of only PHP5,000 ($91), it is uniquely targeted at the bank’s customer base.

Others include the launch via its asset management and trust arm, BPI AMTC, of the Invest Sustainable Fund suite, which comprises a selection of investment funds aimed at catering to various risk appetites. Minimum investment starts from just $1,000.


Best Bank: HSBC

A confident submission that showcased HSBC’s commitment to supporting the Philippines through energy transition towards net zero, judges were impressed by the global bank’s dedication to ESG aspirations in this emerging economy.

 With a promise to provide between $750 billion and $1 trillion in financing and investment over the next 10 years to support transition, HSBC is leveraging its expertise through a dedicated ESG Solutions team aimed at providing guidance towards lower carbon emissions.

HSBC-backed ESG projects in the Philippines are already substantive and large-scale. They include: the extension of green term loans to finance Prime Infra’s solar PV and battery storage projects; social loans to support female entrepreneurship; and funding to support ACEN’s renewable projects overseas.

Aside from ESG-focussed transactions, the bank was at the business end of some of the country’s key deals.

Notably, it served as joint lead arranger and bookrunner for the first live digital issuance in the market – UnionBank’s PHP11 billion ($198 million) issuance, which was 11 times oversubscribed.

It was also one of eight joint bookrunners for the RoP’s $2 billion SEC-registered US dollar triple-tranche senior unsecured bond issuance. The offering heralded a strong return to the US market and formed an inaugural global bond issuance for the new Philippine administration.

“These sample transactions demonstrate HSBC’s ability to adapt to technological innovations and the importance of our vast experience and wisdom in dealing with various markets and economic situations,” the submission detailed.

Most Progressive DEI: Citi

In the Philippines, where women remain the dominant group in the workforce, Citi has led a proactive campaign in 2022, promoting women to the highest corporate levels.

Globally, it promoted one of the largest and most diverse managing director classes in its history – including 110 women. Diversity also played a part in the bank’s upper management roles. In 2021, 57% of assistant vice presidents, vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and directors were female, and this percentage improved to 58% in 2022.

Citi Philippines, with a workforce of over 7,000 employees, stood out as a company that values and promotes diversity. The judges were particularly impressed by the bank’s holistic approach to DEI, which encompasses various aspects of the employee life cycle.

It rolled out innovative schemes including the Self-ID Campaign which allows employees to voluntarily share information about themselves, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status and military status.

“It helps us better understand our colleagues’ unique backgrounds – which in turn helps us create a more equitable workplace and attract, retain and develop the best talent around the globe,” Citi said in its pitch.

In the Philippines, Citi extended a $20 million loan to ASA Philippines Foundation, providing entrepreneurial support for nearly 70,000 low-income women.

Employees are also encouraged to join its Inclusion Networks as part of a campaign for Citi’s people to bring their “most authentic self” to work. The bank also celebrates its Citi Pride Network, which promotes Citi as an employer of choice for members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. 



Best Bank, Best ESG impact, Best Investment Bank, Best Sustainable Bank, Most Innovative Use of Technology: DBS Bank

In all these categories, DBS has once again proven that it is not just a powerful franchise in Singapore, but throughout the region.

As well as impressive financial credentials – which garnered it the Best Bank award – it was the standout contender in terms of ESG Impact and its digital push.

As an investment bank, its acceleration into India means it is guiding some of the most important renewable and energy transition projects in South Asia.

At the same time, it is more than doubling its commitment to sustainable finance, raising its target in this category from S$20 billion to S$50 billion ($37 billion) by 2024.

“We have so far made significant progress towards our goals and over the span of the past five years, we have committed a cumulative total of S$61 billion in sustainable financing transactions, surpassing our sustainable target two years ahead of the target year,” DBS said in its submission.

Its ESG credentials in 2022 were unimpeachable.

Throughout the year it committed a total of S$20.5 billion in sustainable financing, in the form of green, renewable, sustainability-linked, transition, social and blue loans.

It achieved S$480 million in transition financing in 2022, through use-of-proceeds transition loans (S$230 million) and transition-focussed SLLs (S$250 million).

Last year, it also committed to S$12.4 billion in SLLs and S$6.9 billion of green loans. Cumulatively, it committed S$39.8 billion in sustainable financing transactions.

Additionally, close to S$2.3 billion of assets were delivered in new green and sustainable trade finance deals, covering green bank guarantees and letters of credit (LCs).

The Shree Renuka Sugars deal was typical of the global-scale renewable projects for which DBS is now synonymous.

To support India’s push to double the country’s ethanol distillation capacity and blend 20% of ethanol in its petrol by 2025, the Shree subsidiary of Singapore’s Wilmar International – one of the largest sugar and green energy producers in India, obtained a five-year INR1.75 billion ($23 million) transition finance facility from DBS.

Another notable transaction was Greenko Wind Projects (Mauritius) green bonds ($750 million). In a first-of-its-kind project bond issuance for a renewable energy storage project in India, DBS supported Greenko to access the international green bonds market to raise operational capital.

In terms of cutting-edge technology, DBS’s Hong Kong offering – a fully digital, end-to-end onboarding process for mainland Chinese customers – impressed judges. Using the latest in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which enables instant and simultaneous identity verification, an onboarding process that once took 2-3 days has been reduced to seconds.

Best Broker: CGS-CIMB Securities

CGS-CIMB Securities maintained its position as Singapore’s top broker, recording a resilient performance in 2022, even in the face of stiff economic headwinds.

Profitability was largely driven by its investment management (45%), leverage (36%) and equities (13%) other (6%) businesses, which can be attributed to the fine-tuning of business strategy and cross-departmental collaboration.

Cementing its position as Singapore’s number 1 among 24 local brokers, and with a market turnover of S$63.1 billion as of FY22, the brokerage was at the forefront of some of the city-state’s key deals.

Top transactions included work for iFAST Corporation in which CGS-CIMB was named sole placement agent for a S$105 million fundraise offering new shares to institutional and accredited investors. Well over-subscribed with double the base size at more than S$150 million, it was the brokerage’s standout deal of 2022.

The firm also co-managed a Spac IPO for Novo Tellus Alpha Acquisition (NTAA) – one of the first three Spacs listed on the Singapore stock exchange (SGX) in 1Q22.

It also served as co-placement agent of the SGX Catalist IPO for LHN Logistics – a spinoff IPO from its parent, which raised S$5 million in April 2022. For this deal, the team procured subscriptions from reputable investors, including AGT Partners and Lion Global Investors.

CGS-CIMB remains on track for its near-term vision to launch its own IPO, guided by its business principles of empowering individuals and communities to make better investment decisions for a sustainable future.

Best DCM House: United Overseas Bank

A comprehensive debt platform plus strong distribution and trading capabilities secured the Best DCM House award for United Overseas Bank (UOB).

A strong franchise reflected by repeat mandates from key issuers in 2022 – including the Housing and Development Board, Keppel and Sembcorp Industries – UOB ranked second among Singapore dollar-denominated bookrunners.

It lead-managed nine of the 10 largest transactions in 2022 and had a 19% market share by volume, having executed 35 transactions amounting to S$4.7 billion.

Described by judges as a “solid submission with a decent vision and a strong market position”, its award period transactions were diverse and distinguished.

Key deals included Public Utilities Board’s S$800 million 3.433% 30-year senior green bond, one of the largest issuances for the market in 2022.

UOB is also becoming increasingly prominent in the sustainable finance space. It acted as JLM and bookrunner on Frasers Property’s S$500 million 4.490% 5-year senior green bond with retail tranche.

With a comprehensive debt platform of professionals across origination, syndicate, sales and trading, UOB is able to fly solo when it needs to.

“We typically participate in primary deals with fewer than three bookrunners and in some cases, we are able to bookrun the trade as sole global coordinator or sole bookrunner, illustrating our structuring and distribution capabilities,” the bank’s pitch detailed.

Examples of sole bookrunner deals in 2022 included: Cagamas Global’s S$150 million 4.250% 1-year fixed rate notes; Perennial Holdings’ S$44.25 million 6.5% 2-year fixed rate notes; and the bank’s own S400 million 4.25% additional tier 1 (AT1) perpetual NC5.25 capital securities.

UOB’s long-term strategy involves focussing on the Singaporean market, reaffirming its commitment not only to its home but to what is increasingly becoming a regional hub for global players.


Best Bank, Best Investment Bank, Most Progressive DEI: Citi

Citi’s presence in Singapore – serving as a strategic hub for business, operations, and technology – has been instrumental in driving its global operations. With a strong focus on building its business and people, judges saw it as a standout winner in three categories.

Strength in cross-border banking and wealth management meant that Citi’s Singaporean entities achieved a total net income of S$710 million, maintaining consistence with the previous year’s results.

Across banking, capital markets, and advisory, Citi secured top rankings in debt issuance, equity issuance, and M&A throughout 2022, solidifying its position as a market leader.

In the markets and securities services segment, Citi continued to excel, with Singapore’s trade volumes exceeding $10 trillion for the seventh consecutive year. As one of the largest and most comprehensive securities services providers in Singapore, Citi achieved an impressive 25% YoY growth, driven by new mandates and organic improvement across products.

The treasury and trade solutions team registered 22% YoY growth in trade finance funding, a 14% increase in core volumes for instant payments, and an 8% rise in cross-border fund transfer volumes.

The commercial bank also demonstrated resilience, achieving remarkable 58% YoY growth and a 27% increase in total deposits, despite a challenging environment.

Its Private Bank offering had a record-breaking year in client acquisition, welcoming over 350 new customers, resulting in more than $7 billion in AUM. The bank’s wealth management division achieved remarkable growth, with a 45% CAGR in new-to-bank acquisitions since 2020.

Meanwhile, the consumer segment experienced significant digital transformation, with over 80% of customers utilising the Citi Mobile App.

In terms of DEI, Citi Singapore stands to set a standard in the region fostering a culture of mutual respect and meritocracy. Transparent pay equity is a priority, and Citi leads by disclosing adjusted and unadjusted pay gaps.

Meanwhile, community engagement initiatives promote DEI beyond the organisation’s walls, while ongoing evaluation drives continuous improvement.

Noteworthy achievements during the award period included tailored programmes for individuals returning to work; and the Strategic Training for Experienced Professionals (STEP) programme, which brings diverse talent into Citi’s Markets Business.

Through talent development programmes, comprehensive support schemes, and inclusive benefits, Citi Singapore continues to remain at the forefront of DEI effort.

Best Sustainable Bank: MUFG Bank

MUFG came through the challenging market conditions of 2022 in large part thanks to its exceptional performance in sustainability, which registered strong growth due to the launch of new products and the development of key partnerships.

New products in 2022 included green deposits (available in Japan, Singapore, HK, Oceania), sustainable trade finance (available in Singapore, HK, India), and sustainable derivatives (available in Japan, Singapore and HK). Each of these products underwent a pilot phase, highlighting the bank’s dedication to innovation.

MUFG’s collaborative efforts with partner banks, such as Krungsri in Thailand, Security Bank in the Philippines, Bank Danamon in Indonesia, and VietinBank in Vietnam, played a vital role in the bank’s ESG finance achievements.

Throughout 2022, MUFG fostered these partnerships through joint training sessions, client seminars, and coordinated efforts on various ESG transactions.

In May 2021, it established a dedicated ESG finance department for Apac in Singapore, aiming to support clients on their sustainability journeys.

With a vision of becoming the leading sustainable bank in the region and the preferred partner for all clients’ sustainable finance requirements, MUFG’s efforts align with the economic and social development of Asia.

It took a leading role in advancing transition finance by actively participating in the Asia Transition Finance Study Group and publishing the “Asia Transition Finance Guidelines.”

Furthermore, MUFG leads the Financing & Engagement workstream at the Net Zero Banking Alliance. The bank’s involvement in conferences, forums and roundtables further solidified its commitment to sustainable finance and engagement across Asia.

Notable ESG deals include: Olam Agri’s $2.9 billion syndicated Poseidon Principles SLL; Olam Food Ingredients’ inaugural $1.98 billion multi-tranche syndicated SLL, and Frasers Property’s $400 million syndicated green loan.



Best Broker, Most Innovative Use of Technology: InnovestX Securities

It’s no surprise that these awards have been handed out in tandem to InnovestX Securities which has expertly leveraged

its digital offering to expand its reach as a broker.

Just 3% of Thailand’s 70 million population are retail investors, offering significant untapped potential.

With this in mind, InnovestX launched the first and only Super App that integrates traditional assets like Thai stocks, offshore stocks, funds, bonds and digital assets, in one unified portfolio.

The offering is a revamp of the SCBS Easy Invest application and is aimed at simplifying – and democratising – access to the capital markets, thereby revolutionising Thailand’s investment landscape.

The app is designed to provide a comprehensive investment ecosystem that streamlines offerings through a secure, digital onboarding process via bank-grade infrastructure that eliminates the need to visit a branch physically.

The onboarding aspect – a wholly digital identity authentication process via eKYC using National Digital ID (NDID) – caught the eye of our judges who felt that the use of technology in a traditionally paperwork-heavy culture such as Thailand, was a bonus for retail investors.

This affordable, intuitive, and comprehensive solution reaffirms InnovestX’s ambition to transform Thailand’s investment landscape and empower its citizens to achieve long-term financial growth.

InnovestX is the first and only firm in Thailand with both securities and digital asset brokerage licences, integrating traditional and digital assets into a unified portfolio, and offering an industry-first automated digital wealth management service.

It is also the first securities company in Thailand to adopt blockchain-based infrastructure for digital assets, integrating tech into its core securities business.

Best DCM House: Kasikornbank

Kasikornbank (KBank) has been one of the most influential banks in the development and expansion of Thailand’s primary and secondary bond markets. In 2022, it was at the helm of some major transactions.

In an increasingly significant regional debt market, judges felt the bank showed strong origination and execution at a time of difficult operating conditions.

Key transactions included serving as joint lead arranger for the PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited issuance – a landmark execution against the backdrop of increasing geopolitical tension which highlighted the bank’s long-standing reputation as a credible issuer.

Across sustainability, KBank helped steer BTS Group to the market as joint lead arranger. It was the first to issue both SLBs and green bonds to the public on Thai capital markets, and the response by both retail and institutional investors reaffirmed commitment and support for the BTS green initiative.

The SCG Chemicals issuance, however, was particularly noteworthy due to deft execution and expert timing.  With the ambitious target of creating a placement of THB30 billion ($860.81 million) under public offer in April and another THB30 billion under private placement in September, KBank had a challenging task ahead of it.

“However, it was also a huge opportunity, as the company at the time had no outstanding debentures in the market and a high credit rating of A+(tha) by Fitch Ratings,” the submission noted.

Thanks to robust preparation and expert execution, the debentures received response from more than 100 investors, exceeding issuer expectation.

“These two transactions set up a good foundation for SCG Chemicals in terms of investor base and readiness for fundraising in the future. It set a new benchmark for the non-listed company in the Thai bond markets,” the submission wrote.

Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: Kiatnakin Phatra Securities

Kiatnakin has emerged as a solid all-rounder in the investment banking and ECM space, displaying remarkable resilience and expertise despite the recent pandemic and market volatility.

“Kiatnakin is a strong entity and in both ECM and DCM they are a market leader,” judges said.

“This was a strong submission from a region that is becoming increasingly important.”

In equity offerings, Kiatnakin navigated volatility to execute successfully landmark IPOs and solidify its position as a trusted partner for clients looking to go public.

The firm played a crucial role in facilitating overnight block trades, further displaying its capabilities in the equity space. Overall, Kiatnakin helped clients complete two IPO transactions and two overnight placements, amounting to a total deal size of THB72 billion ($2 billion).

In terms of M&A, Kiatnakin proved its ability to overcome complexities in no fewer than five transactions, encompassing a range of activities, including acquisitions and tender offers, with a combined deal size exceeding THB68.4 billion.

Across DCM, it continued to show real expertise across bond offerings. During the award period, Kiatnakin successfully managed a total of 56 transactions, with an impressive transaction value of THB336 billion.

These accounted for a significant share of 27.05% of all domestic long-term corporate bonds issued during the period and underscored Kiatnakin’s strong presence and influence.

The business’s ability to deliver exceptional results – even in challenging times – has firmly established its reputation as a trusted partner for clients seeking comprehensive financial solutions.

Best Sustainable Bank: Bangkok Bank

In terms of ESG bonds, Bangkok Bank is Thailand’s heavy-hitter.

In 2022, the Thai capital market had a total value of THB157.5 million ($4.5 billion) across ESG bond issuance, of which, THB119,145 million – or 76% – was underwritten by Bangkok Bank.

This was an increase of 10 percentage points on 2021, and highlights exactly where the bank is headed. 

In 2022, it registered a solid performance in terms of ESG fixed income instruments, which included eight sustainability funds worth THB14.4 million in net assets.

It also supported Bualuang green loans worth THB643 million – part of a programme that invests in recyclable materials through reuse and recycle concepts.

During the award period it successfully developed energy-saving or home improvement loans for the disabled and the elderly; as well Bualuang green solar energy products (worth THB168 million) to support business owners in installing solar rooftops.

Key transactions included its role as sole green advisor across Xayaburi Power Company Limited’s (XPCL) debut green debentures, reflecting the company’s acceleration towards net zero by 2050.

The transaction drew a number of accolades. It was the first and largest hydropower green bond issuance in Southeast Asia at THB8.4 million; and the largest baht bond issued in Thailand during 2022.

The bank also arranged the Kingdom of Thailand’s THB65 billion sustainability facility and served as joint lead arranger for BTS Group’s THB31 billion issuance. Both of these deals were huge in their own right, with the BTS transaction offering the first SLB to Thailand’s general public.


Best Bank: HSBC

HSBC was behind some of Thailand’s largest deals in 2022.

Key transactions during the award period included three DCM deals, two ECM deal and one leveraged acquisition finance deal.

The THB19.8-21.1 billion ($590 million) IPO of i-Tail Corporation, in which HSBC acted as joint global coordinator and international joint bookrunner, was a landmark deal, representing the third largest Asean IPO and largest Asean Consumer IPO of 2022.

HSBC co-led marketing efforts for the transaction, garnering overwhelming cornerstone and anchor demand from both international and domestic investors ahead of deal launch to fully cover the book.

The final orderbook was 3.5 times covered at the top end of the price range, with a good mix of sovereigns, global and domestic long-only funds, as well as multi-strategy funds and HNWIs.

The success of the IPO is a testament to HSBC’s strong credentials in the Asian consumer sector, reaffirming its position as a leading ECM house that sources best results for clients under volatile market conditions.

Other event deals included: SCBX’s $1.2 billion syndicated term loan for which it acted as original MLA, bookrunner and underwriter; and Thai Union’s $593 million IPO transaction.

In terms of wealth management, a Thai client invested $200 million to become the largest Asean investor into the bank’s Passive Fixed Income Fund.

In private banking – the region’s boom segment – HSBC showed the reach of its brand by booking $1.65 billion from a Singapore-based Thai UHNWI, marking the largest-ever mandate in Southeast Asia.

Best Investment Bank, Most Progressive DEI: Citi

As an international bank, judges found it hard to go past Citi which has secured its position as the pre-eminent financial institution in Thailand, leading key deals – particularly in terms of DCM – and representing clients from corporations to government.

In late 2021, Citi global announced a strategy refresh, shifting the focus to businesses that would drive strong growth, deliver scale, and enhance returns. In Thailand, this meant focussing on the institutional clients group business, including Citi’s top-tier local corporates, global subsidiaries, financial institutions and public sector groups.

This was reflected in Citi Thailand’s landmark deals over the past 12 months.

Citi Thailand was the only bank to be involved in all of gas and oil company, PTT Group’s international DCM transactions (involving US dollar bonds and liability management) over the past four years, and 2022 was no exception. Last year, the bank steered the firm’s $1.3 billion dual-tranche of 144A / RegS senior unsecured 10-year and 30-year notes.

Citi was also mandated as buy-side advisor to Central Group and Signa Holding for the acquisition of British luxury store chain, Selfridges. The largest M&A deal in Thailand in 2022, the transaction created one of the world’s leading omni-channel luxury department store groups.

It was also instrumental in the Thai Life Insurance’s $1.045 billion IPO for public sector clients. 

In terms of DEI, Citi continues to lead from the front. This has been a big push for the bank over the past few years, with efforts to close the gender pay gap, paramount.

“Hiring, promoting and retaining more women in senior, high-paying roles is critical to our success — and key to helping solve the two-pronged issue of representation and pay equity,” the bank said in its submission.

Career development has also been one of its top priorities, promoting from within to retain and advance existing talent.

“Pipeline analyses help us assess the availability and flow of diverse talent at Citi and how we can achieve better representation among women,” the submission wrote.

These studies also help shape the bank’s succession plans.

“These ensure that we have diversity of employees who are ready for promotion now, and that we have appropriate development plans for those who would be ready in several years.”

Best Sustainable Bank: MUFG Bank

Despite tough market conditions in 2022, MUFG demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through enhanced client engagement and an increased volume of ESG financing deals.

Through its 76% stake in Krungsri, the bank has consolidated its operations in Thailand.

Since identifying ESG financing as a key priority for the bank in 2019, Krungsri has undergone a period of immense capacity building – an effort that has paid off with Thailand’s ESG bond market taking flight in recent years. It has increased ESG bond issuance volumes fourfold, culminating in THB30 billion ($850 million) worth of issuance in 2022.

Critical to this success, has been its deep relationships with local regulators, engaging them early and regularly to discuss best practices and to introduce new market formats.

Currently it is discussing the standardisation of UoP (use of proceeds) bonds.

“We are also speaking with Bank of Thailand and Thai SEC to introduce a format for transition financing,” the bank shared.

It has been actively engaged in seeking new sectors or innovative opportunities within existing sectors. This ranges from its work with Thai Union’s SLB in 2021, to wider industry decarbonisation efforts.

Key transactions during the period included: electric service provider, Ratch Group’s THB25 billion preferential public offering (PPO) and A$477 million ($328 million) syndicated green loan. Proceeds will be used to fund Ratch’s ESG initiatives.

Krungsri was also appointed the joint green structuring advisor, joint lead manager and JBR on the Thai Ministry of Finance’s THB35 billion 14.75-year sustainability bond, an inaugural facility that was crucial to managing Thailand’s Covid-19 expenditure.

“Building on this successful partnership, 2022’s series of sustainability bonds was very well received by both onshore and offshore investors, with the September 2022 issue being 3.15-times oversubscribed,” the banking team shared.

The execution of this deal demonstrated effective collaboration between Krungsri and MUFG in leveraging their global networks.



Best Bank, Most Innovative Use of Technology: Techcombank and Techcom Securities

Not even a significant slow-down in the bond market and a sharp decline in real estate transactions could slow Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), which displayed a strong performance despite these adverse events in key markets.

Techcombank is one of the largest joint stock banks in Vietnam and delivered a resilient performance in 2022. Total operating income (TOI) and PBT grew by around 10% each, on top of a 25.8% TOI CAGR and 50% PBT CAGR between 2016 and 2021.

PBT growth was driven by a continued rise in core revenue streams, including double digit growth in both NII and net fee income (NFI), reflective of its robust business model.

This was supported by a sharp reduction in provision expenses of 27.3% YoY, indicating healthy asset quality, proactive balance sheet management and lower credit costs.

Continued investment in technology also underpinned its performance during the year, delivering operating expense growth of 19.9% YoY.

With a customer-centric strategy that enabled it to grow its deposits faster than the market at 13.9% YoY, it acquired 1.2 million new customers during the award period.

At the same time, it maintained its NPL ratio at a healthy 0.7% to achieve a cost of funds (CoF) of 2.9%, among the lowest level in the Vietnam banking sector.

“Our ROE stayed at a strong level of 19.6% while our ROA was the highest in the industry at 3.2%,” the banks’s submission shared.

“These industry-leading numbers reflect the strength of our business, which enabled us to continue investing in our long-term transformation, including $65 million in IT alone.”

It is Techombank’s innovative application of blockchain technology across transaction management and bond ownership that impressed our judges when it came to awarding the bank’s securities branch for use of technology.

“It was a fair way ahead in this category and a convincing win,” judges said.

The corporate bond market in Vietnam is increasingly active. Techcom Securities alone is estimated to manage 500,000 individual and institutional investor accounts, with its agents working across a pool of 730 bonds with a total value of nearly VND400 trillion ($17 billion).

Recognising the need to update its human-run data reconciliation operations, the securities firm moved to create a comprehensive asset management ecosystem for Vietnamese investors using blockchain.

The project was developed at optimal speed and is able to record 600 transactions every second. Following its success, the bank’s ambition is now to move the technology to other product types to improve operations and ultimately the customer experience. So far, its core blockchain team has expanded use of the emerging technology across its iXu loyalty reward product.

Technology has been a consistent focus for Techcom Securities and is an essential part of its growing reach in the Vietnam market.

Before 2019, 100% of the firm’s customers opened accounts via relationship managers (RMs), by 2021, thanks to positive uptake across its online account opening service, this figure has dropped sharply to just 5%.

Best Broker, Best DCM House: SSI Securities Corporation

There was little doubt that 2022 was a tough year for Vietnam, and no less for SSI Securities.

A lower topline due to a decrease in market liquidity throughout the year – which caused its average daily trading value to dip 16% – did little to dampen its will to succeed, however.

Despite adverse conditions, SSI came through with flying colours, booking a consolidated PTB of approximately VND2,110 billion ($90 million).

“SSI is doing very interesting things in the market,” judges said of its submissions. “There’s a lot of dynamism here currently.”

SSI’s total assets reached VND52,226 billion, recording a growth of 3% compared with 2021. Short-term assets accounted for 93.3% this total (nearly VND48,732 billion), increasing by 5.7% YoY. Long-term assets were recorded at VND3,494 billion accounting for 6.7% of total assets.

SSI still directly holds 12.7% shares in PAN Group Joint Stock Company and a 20% share in the Vietnam Digitalisation Fund, which takes its equity holding to 42.9% of total capital. This has increased by 57.4% YoY, leading SSI to continue to maintain its position as the securities company in Vietnam with the largest equity in the market.

In 2022, SSI assisted one large offshore fund to buy a big block of Vietcombank, one of the largest banks in Vietnam. The deal size was approximately $160 million.

It was also the leading broker advising and facilitating the Korean SK Group to acquire and raise its holding in Imexpharm, one of Vietnam’s leading pharmaceutical companies. The total deal size made it one of the most successful deals in the market, at approximately $45 million.

In terms of DCM, SSI completed 10 transactions with a total value of nearly $496 million, achieving its year-end goal.

Key transactions included working as sole advisor to Home Credit Vietnam for the company’s funding plan in the form of private bonds. An attractive issuance, the three private bonds ultimately raised $47.8 million.

Other debt deals involving Coteccons Construction and Novaland were well executed in terms of timeline and structure.

SSI emerged in 2022 as the trusted financial advisor for numerous leading Vietnamese corporates in ECM, DCM, and M&A, leading seven transactions in ECM worth $141.7 million in total; 10 transactions in DCM totalling $496 million; and one M&A transaction for $26 million.

Best ECM House, Best Investment Bank: Vietcap Securities Joint Stock Company (Vietcap) 

Viet Capital Securities Joint Stock Company (VCS) is fast becoming a byword in investment house excellence in the region.

“Significant deals, good presence, strong bandwidth and important transactions,” judges said of a solid submission that came down to pitching calls.

VCS claims to be the only local investment bank capable of executing major complex deals such as IPOs, since foreign investment banks often do not have operating licences nor on-the-ground execution teams.

Strong links with regulators are a necessity in the market and VCS has both the local knowledge and the global experience for seamless execution.

“We remain the undisputed number 1 investment bank with unmatched experience, and the execution capabilities of international banks: 50% of our employees is foreign, has studied or worked abroad,” the submission detailed.

In terms of markets, VCS was number 1 in M&A (by deal volume and count), IPOs and ECM.

It acted as exclusive advisor across three of the largest M&A transactions and was the sole book runner for the largest IPO. It was also the sole advisor in the largest equity block trade of the year.

Deals included acting as exclusive financial advisor in April 2022 to Phu Nhuan Jewelry, in a transaction valued at $62 million. It was also advisor to Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) on its $91 million acquisition of a 97.8% stake in Ngoc Nghia Industry.

The leading brokerage house in foreign flows, VCS is ranked top with a 25% market share in 2022 and is a firmly established player in the local retail brokerage market on Vietnam’s main stock exchange, HOSE.

In 2022, it generated VND3,156 billion ($133.7 million) in revenue and VND869 billion ($36.8 million) in net PAT. It delivered a return on average equity (ROAE) which details net difference in equity due to asset revaluation, of 16.8% – highest among its listed peers.

Best ESG Impact: Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Bank

Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Bank’s (SHB) focus on green credit and banking made it our Best ESG Impact winner in Vietnam where, despite a modest green loan portfolio, the bank experienced a stellar growth rate of almost 10% during the year.

“This submission was above market expectations,” judges said of the entry.

SHB has been behind a huge solar push since 2020, putting together packaged financing of solar power projects, including grid-connected and rooftop facilities for corporate customers.

Other key projects in this space have included the Vietnam Scaling up Energy Efficiency for Industrial Enterprises Project (VSUEE), which was funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the World Bank (WB). To this end, WB and SHB signed a GCF guarantee agreement with a total value of $75 million.

The project contributes support to the government on achieving national goals around energy efficiency and security; greenhouse gas emissions reduction; and response to climate change.

 SHB is also the guarantee issuing bank for participating banks in providing credit for energy saving investment loan projects in Vietnamese industries. The model of the Risk Sharing Fund attached to this project and managed by SHB, is a globally unique.

Of its entire loan portfolio, renewable energy, clean energy and green loans represents 2.73% of SHB’s portfolio.


Best Bank, Best ESG Impact, Best Investment Bank, Most Innovative Use of Technology: HSBC

By any standards, HSBC – always a colossus in the Asian region – had a remarkable 2022 in Vietnam and was the clear winner in the above four categories.

It captured a significant part of the foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into the country (around 36%), strengthened its leading market shares among local large corporates (35% or $1.8 billion) and serviced the needs of a growing affluent class.

It also helped international investors gain entry into one of Asia’s fastest-growing and dynamic markets (with a 45% market share in custody and insurance), cementing its position as the investment bank of choice in Vietnam.

“They put together good submissions with a lot of ‘feel-good’ aspects as a result of hard work and commitment,” the jury said.

The global bank was behind the Masan Group’s $600 million syndicated term loan – the largest and longest syndicated loan ever raised by the group, which was upsized from $375 million to $600 million on the back of a stellar 3.3-times oversubscription.

HSBC also brought the lion share of commitments to the Hoa Phat Group’s $300 million syndicated term loan.

In the ESG space, HSBC has pledged to assist in arranging up to $12 billion by 2030 to finance Vietnam’s net zero transition.

“Our climate ambition is realised by greening our own operation, supporting customers through transition and helping unlock climate solutions and innovations,” HSBC said in its submission.

It has also helped NGOs in the market build on their governance, assisting them in raising the bar not only across project management but also organisation management, and Vietnam’s philanthropy standards.

HSBC Vietnam also made creative use of technology by replacing paper personal identification numbers (Pins) with digital Pins for cards and internet/mobile banking activations, allowing customers faster access to their accounts.

It developed an automated solution for direct investment capital account (DICA) processing, enabling its teams to reduce effort and automatically track compliance to established limits and improve turn-around times for customers.

These are among many of the technologies that have been built on top of Group HSBC infrastructure to allow HSBC Vietnam to quickly deploy robust and scalable solutions to customers’ benefit, reducing operating costs and risks.

Best Sustainable Bank: Citi

Citi’s global sustainability focus has been outstanding, but its ability to tailor sustainable offerings in different markets is what has made this submission stand out.

“What we liked was, Citi was not just offering its generic global offerings on this front, but specifically customising them to fit local projects and regional conditions,” judges said of Citi’s submission.

The bank has been a pioneer on the ESG front in Vietnam, leading in terms of advising, financing, and catalysing sustainable business models and working with clients on net zero transitions.

Citi has implemented the first voluntary carbon credit deal in the market, distributing cookstoves and water purifiers to households in more than 30 provinces in Vietnam. The project aims to produce a meaningful amount of voluntary emission reductions (VERs) over the next five years, which will be offered to corporate clients so that they can offset their carbon footprint in line with net zero targets.

The bank also provided ECA financing worth $700 million for a first-time, large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) project with no government guarantee.

“These LNG power plants play a strategic role as the transition power source to ensure national energy security and serve the country’s development in the context of Vietnam Government’s COP26 commitment, to lower its power capacity reserve during 2024-2030,” Citi said.

Vietnam’s coffee industry has been another focus. It worked with an FDI corporate client in the commodity trading segment on $20 million in green financing to purchase green coffee from Vietnamese agents and farmers with Rainforest Alliance certification standards.

The client had been working with the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam (PSAV) Coffee Working Group, which brings together industry players and government officials to improve outcomes in coffee quality, output, sustainability, and farmer incomes.

The company also invests directly in sustainable farms in the market.



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