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Nazir Razak wins Lifetime Achievement Award; DBS takes home Best Asian Bank Award

At last night's FinanceAsia Country Awards dinner, which celebrated the accomplishments of banks in 13 countries, CIMB's Nazir Razak was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, while DBS won the accolade for Best Asian Bank.

At last night's Country Awards for Achievement dinner, we announced that Nazir Razak, chief executive and managing director of CIMB group and its listed parent company Bumiputra Commerce Holdings, has won FinanceAsia's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. We also awarded DBS as the best overall bank in Asia. The awards dinner was held at the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong.

Lifetime Achievement Awards typically go to people who are, well, older. It takes a lifetime to achieve great things. That is not the case with Nazir. Our award recipient is indeed quite young -- 42. This is impressive and begs the question: What more will he accomplish in the years to come?

Many people have talked about how there is a need for more pan-Asian retail and investment banks. Some have come and gone -- everyone remembers Peregrine -- but there is one group from Malaysia that certainly, given the breadth and scope of its offering and its reach in Southeast Asia, is becoming a regional powerhouse -- and that's down to its leader, Nazir.

Nazir had the vision and drive to build CIMB into a force to be reckoned with, within Malaysia and regionally. Its product offering -- from retail banking to investment banking, asset management, wealth management and Islamic finance -- is extensive. And it is a regional powerhouse; CIMB Group has Southeast Asia's largest branch network with more than 1,150 branches and 34,000 employees, catering to the banking needs of more than 10 million customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. CIMB Group also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Brunei and Vietnam. Put simply, Nazir has built a business that rivals the multinationals that have entered the region.

Nazir joined CIMB's corporate advisory department in 1989 and, in 1993, was appointed executive director of CIMB Securities. He moved back to investment banking as deputy chief executive of CIMB on June 1, 1996, and became chief executive on June 1, 1999.  It is thanks to Nazir that the group has become what it is today. He spearheaded the group's transformation from a Malaysian investment bank to a regional universal bank via several acquisitions, including GK Goh Securities, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, Southern Bank, Bank Niaga, Bank Lippo and BankThai. 

Under his stewardship, CIMB Group has won many prestigious accolades over the years, including several from us. But the most notable is this latest personal award, the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

As for DBS, it was named the Best Asian Bank at the gala event last night. 

"The Best Asian Bank honours the bank we think stood out among the crème de la crème of Asia's top banks," said Lara Wozniak, editor of FinanceAsia. "The decision on the winning bank is a highly quantitative one, with each bank scored on a number of key performance metrics. DBS scored the highest of the 11 shortlisted banks."

The Best Asian Bank award is given to the bank that ranks highest among the 11 banks that have individually won our Best Bank award for each country. We ranked the banks by a series of metrics and also by their scores in Standard & Poor's Bank Fundamental Strength Ratings. We looked at 12 metrics: return on assets, return on equity, profit per employee, total profit, total assets, percentage of net income derived from fee business, market capitalisation, NPL ratio, growth rate, number of employees, price-to-book ratio and net interest margin. The best-ranked in each metric got 11 points and the lowest-ranked got 1 point.

We then overlaid this with S&P's Bank Fundamental Strength rating, which measures a bank's strength, and graded them, with an A rating getting the most points and an E rating the least. The S&P rating got a 25% weighting in the overall score.

At the end of this point scoring system, DBS emerged as the Best Asian Bank. The 11 shortlisted banks were: ICBC (China), HDFC Bank (India), Bank Central Asia (Indonesia), Public Bank (Malaysia), Bank of Philippine Islands (Philippines), DBS (Singapore), Kookmin Bank (South Korea), Commercial Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka),  Chinatrust Commercial Bank (Taiwan) , Siam Commercial Bank (Thailand) and Asia Commercial Bank (Vietnam). HSBC (which won the Best Bank award for Hong Kong) is excluded on the basis that it is a global bank.

DBS also took home awards for Best Bank, Best Investment Bank, Best Private Bank, Best Equity House, Best Bond House, Best Foreign Exchange Bank and Best Trade Finance Bank in Singapore.

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