Profiles of the 2016 FX Award Winners by Region and Category
With its broad geographic presence and wide range of products, Citi has the world of foreign exchange covered better than any other bank. Its leading market share attests to the depth of its market expertise and its advanced electronic trading platforms. Not only is Citi the biggest FX bank, but it also offers the best-quality service. With operations in 100 countries, including 68 emerging or frontier markets, Citi is one of the main global banks serving large, multinational corporations. From its renminbi cross-border sweeping structure to newly introduced futures trading on its Velocity electronic execution platform, Citi is constantly upgrading its technology and offerings. Its Web-based CitiFX Pulse platform enables multinationals to track cash flow and balance-sheet exposure across their worldwide subsidiaries and to send supporting documentation online. Citi’s in-house systems help manage the documentation required for FX transactions in many emerging markets. Citi’s client newswire, CitiFX Wire, includes exclusive content from traders, strategists and analysts. The bank’s size enables it to spend heavily on these systems and to price and execute large transactions efficiently. Last year Citi sold its FX margin business, including its CitiFX Pro retail brokerage, to FXCM in the US and Saxo Bank overseas, as part of its efforts to streamline operations.
NORTH AMERICA | Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Among the biggest gainers in foreign-exchange market share in the past 12 months, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is in the top tier of banks serving the corporate FX market. The bank is also the leader in corporate FX service quality, according to Greenwich Associates, a global advisory firm for the financial services industry. With three-quarters of global FX trading now done electronically, the biggest banks with the best platforms have a significant advantage. BofA Merrill Lynch’s CashPro Foreign Exchange Services offers an online single point of access to currency trading and payments. Companies can fund payments in 140 currencies across 200 countries and territories. They can pay suppliers in their own currencies, helping to strengthen supplier relationships. BofA Merrill Lynch offers guaranteed currency exchange rates for companies that pay an up-front risk management spread.
WESTERN EUROPE | Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank’s Autobahn FX trading platform has helped it maintain its lead in currency trading in Western Europe. The app-based platform delivers the liquidity, tools and services that keep traders coming back. In October 2015, Deutsche Bank introduced Corax, a new set of FX market positioning indexes based on data from Autobahn. Corax data show that the main drivers behind last year’s surge in the dollar were asset managers, rather than hedge funds, which reduced their positions in the dollar. Corax includes all G10 currencies, as well as the most-liquid currencies in emerging markets. The Autobahn platform enables clients to view and trade from streaming prices on nondeliverable forwards as fast and easily as trading the spot market. The bank’s FX4Cash product offers cross-border payments and receivables in more than 120 currencies, with no need for special currency accounts.
NORDIC COUNTRIES | Nordea
The largest bank in the Nordic countries, Stockholm-based Nordea delivers foreign exchange and money market services via its electronic trading platform, e-Markets. Nordea is a leading liquidity provider in the currencies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is also active in the currencies of the Baltic countries, as well as Poland and Russia. With some 1,400 branches, Nordea combines a strong local presence with fast and reliable online trading. Nordea Analytics offers a suite of tools that run on the bank’s own servers to analyze risks across an entire portfolio, or the quality of a client’s hedges. The bank also offers an FX heat map with color codes to assess whether an FX option is cheap or expensive versus market volatility. Nordea serves more than 11 million customers, including 700,000 corporations.
CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE | Societe Generale
Societe Generale’s immense network of 3,800 branches in the CEE region includes Russia, where the French bank owns 99.5% of Rosbank. SG has been active in the ruble markets since trading in the Russian currency was liberalized in 2006. SG’s global platform, Alpha, offers streaming spot prices and has been connecting clients directly to the bank’s trading floors since 2010. The bank is a leading provider in CEE local government debt through its primary dealerships in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Russia. In each of the 18 CEE countries where it operates, SG offers universal banking with a full range of tailored products and services. Its interest rates and FX derivatives team advises on and offers risk-management solutions to corporate clients throughout the region, in partnership with its local banks, such as Komerni banka in the Czech Republic and BRD Group in Romania.
LATIN AMERICA | Citi
Citi is the leading FX bank in Latin America, where it continued to gain market share in 2015. The systems it has created for taking on, laying off and hedging risks have earned it a growing list of corporate and institutional clients. Citi’s presence in 23 countries in the region gives it the largest geographic reach of any bank. It has executed local derivatives trades in 14 Latin American currencies. Citi has developed proprietary systems to handle the heavy documentation load required by FX regulations in many countries in the region. The bank’s Web-based CitiFX Pulse platform allows customers to quote and book deals online through a secure connection without having to install or download any software. A regional hub in Guatemala attends to FX clients in Central America and the Caribbean. Its link to Citi’s London hub enables it to deal in swaps and FX options in hard and exotic currencies.
ASIA-PACIFIC | ANZ
One of the Asia’s largest commercial banks, ANZ operates in 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific, including the Greater Mekong region, which spans Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern province of Yunnan in China. ANZ is a top-three participant among foreign banks in China and is one of Australia’s largest investors in the country. It has introduced renminbi trade capability in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as Australia. With a focus on emerging Asian currencies, ANZ is a market maker in the full range of Asian nondeliverable forwards and deliverable currencies. Altogether, the bank provides FX services in upward of 140 currency pairs. The Melbourne, Australia—based bank has the largest and longest-established footprint of any bank in the Pacific and has the leading FX market position in New Zealand. In August 2015, ANZ introduced Currency by ANZ, an FX conversion app, to retail and small and medium-size enterprises in Australia.
SOUTHEAST ASIA | DBS BANK
Already the leader in Singapore dollar trading, DBS is building up its renminbi market making, structuring and distribution capabilities. In nondeliverable forwards in Asia, DBS is a major market participant. It helped to develop the Vietnamese offshore dong platform. In addition, DBS deals in the currencies of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It has the biggest FX team in Singapore among local banks, and its currency-trading volume has grown rapidly in recent years. In Hong Kong, DBS is a major participant in the Hong Kong dollar and offshore renminbi markets. DBS is also a major interbank market participant in China and other key Asian markets, such as South Korea, Taiwan and India. With 6,000 Indian companies now operating in Singapore, DBS recently set up an India desk to help them expand into the rest of Southeast Asia.
AFRICA | Standard Bank
Standard Bank of South Africa is the world’s leading liquidity provider for African currencies. Its ability to provide pricing in 41 African currencies makes it a favorite of multinational corporations seeking a strong treasury solution on the continent. Also branded as Stanbic Bank, it is the first African bank to offer a single global FX platform with streaming prices. Business Online, Standard Bank’s electronic banking platform for Africa, provides clients with a real-time view of their cash positions across products, currencies and countries. The bank operates 22 dealing rooms across sub-Saharan Africa, including five in South Africa. Its strategic partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China enables it to facilitate flows between China and Africa. Standard Bank offers exchange-control advisory and compliance services based on its knowledge of local markets.
MIDDLE EAST | National Bank of Kuwait
National Bank of Kuwait remains focused on the relatively high-growth markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Egypt, as it continues to expand in the Middle East region. NBK deals in more than 80 currencies and rates highly in corporate customer satisfaction. It is a market maker in all GCC currencies. In Egypt, NBK offers foreign exchange at competitive rates, as well as hedging for foreign currency exposures associated with international trade. In its home market, NBK provides ATMs in the transit areas at Kuwait International Airport, where customers can withdraw cash in six different currencies. NBK is the flagship bank in Kuwait, with a dominant franchise and better-quality assets than its peers, Fitch Ratings said recently in affirming the bank’s long-term ratings at AA-, the highest in the region. NBK also has a global market presence, with offices in Geneva, London, New York, Paris and Singapore.
BEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESEARCH & ANALYSIS
RESEARCH | BNY Mellon
With $28.5 trillion of global assets under custody and administration, BNY Mellon has unique insight into cross-border investment flows that can have a major impact on foreign exchange rates. As investment managers take an increasingly proactive role in handling their currency exposure, BNY Mellon is restructuring its FX business to make it more service-oriented, instead of a passive adjunct to custody. It is making the changes in response to its customers’ growing need for greater transparency and risk-management tools. BNY Mellon Global Markets now includes the bank’s FX business, as well as capital markets. The bank recently announced an expansion of its global payments infrastructure by adding more FX payment capabilities. Clients in London and Frankfurt can now use account balances in a single currency to instruct FX payments in a growing number of currencies. The multiyear initiative, when fully implemented throughout the bank, will use a single platform to process any payment anywhere, regardless of its value, currency or clearing mechanism.
FUNDAMENTAL ANALYSIS | Brown Brothers Harriman
Brown Brothers Harriman, the largest private bank in the US, is a leading FX provider to global asset managers. It is an FX market maker in major and emerging markets. BBH’s currency strategy and research products offer comprehensive top-down analyses that combine fundamental, geopolitical and technical factors. Large corporations and financial institutions active in FX globally rate the bank highly for its quality of service. BBH’s strategic advice on currencies focuses on helping clients recognize what is noise in the markets and what are the real signals that the economy and policymakers are generating.
TECHNICAL ANALYSIS | BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon’s iFlow charts and analysis have picked up many of the recent changes in investor activity across FX and asset markets. The iFlow product enables clients to study data and gain insights into cross-border investment activity. BNY Mellon tracks aggregate daily investor activity across currencies, equities and bonds in developed and emerging markets. The iFlow Metrics models incorporate flow and pattern-recognition components. With BNY Mellon’s free iPad app, institutional investors can access the bank’s FX commentary, along with its daily analysis of capital flows based on iFlow data.
FORECASTS | ING
Amsterdam-based ING has repeatedly topped rankings of foreign exchange banks for accuracy in forecasting currency rates in recent years. It did this primarily by being bearish on the euro versus the dollar, although its picks were consistently solid across eight currency pairs. In early 2014, the euro was climbing toward its May high of $1.40. ING predicted at the time that the euro would end the year around $1.20. After hitting that one nearly on the nose, ING forecast in January 2015 that the euro would continue to weaken and could drop below parity with the dollar by the end of 2016.
BEST ONLINE FOREX TRADING SYSTEMS
BANK SYSTEM | State Street’s Currenex
Boston-based State Street’s Currenex platform uses patented technology to deliver high-speed FX trading, with access to deep liquidity and competitive pricing across a range of instruments. Currenex is popular with corporate treasurers who manage numerous multicurrency and money market transactions and portfolios. Currenex provides disclosed access to liquidity from more than 60 banks, using its request-for-quote execution method. In addition, an anonymous streaming method offers access to a much broader group of liquidity providers. Both the disclosed and undisclosed liquidity are displayed on a single screen.
INDEPENDENT SYSTEM | Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters FX platforms are used by traders in more than 5,000 organizations in 120 countries, with average daily volume of more than $350 billion. FX Trading, its desktop service for professional traders, provides access to all of Thomson Reuters’s FX services, including Eikon, with cross rates for more than 1,500 currency pairs and more than 90 forward prices for currencies versus the dollar. Currency Value Tracker, an app that monitors multiple-value metrics across multiple currency pairs, evaluates heat maps, performance rankings and outliers. It enables corporate treasurers to build currency baskets from more than 75 currency pairs. FXall offers bank-to-client trading and workflow solutions.
RETAIL SYSTEM | FXCM
New York—based Forex Capital Markets, better known as FXCM, is a leading online provider of FX trading and related services to retail and institutional customers worldwide. FXCM offers mobile trading, one-click execution and trading from real-time charts. The company offers courses on FX trading and provides free news and market research through DailyFX.com. The website is now available in nine languages, including Arabic and Mandarin. FXCM has about 200,000 active retail customers. Its platform provides quotes on 59 currency pairs from more than 70 market makers.
BEST CORPORATE CURRENCY HEDGING
CORPORATE CURRENCY HEDGING | Citi
CitiFX Risk Management Solutions helps corporations assess and quantify financial risks prior to implementing hedges. Citi recently released an enhanced version of its treasury diagnostics global benchmarking tool, which incorporates new content, including FX instruments and emerging markets risk. CitiFX Pulse, the bank’s online FX hedging platform, includes a risk-exposure management module that enables multinational corporations to track cash flow and balance sheet exposure, with associated hedges, across subsidiaries.
CASH FLOW HEDGING | HSBC
For companies operating internationally, changes in exchange rates cause changes in cash flow, for both outgoing payments and incoming export revenue. HSBC helps companies manage these risks with tailor-made programs that take into account local business practices, changing regulations and financial infrastructure, as well as a company’s overall risk profile.
BALANCE SHEET HEDGING | Societe Generale
Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking (SG CIB) advises multinational corporations on a global basis, assessing their portfolio of exposures to help them optimize their risk reduction versus the cost of hedging. The bank has developed a simple online hedging tool for corporations, with signals and recommendations to treasurers on currency hedging decisions in emerging markets. SG CIB also structures long-term hedging solutions with cross-currency swaps.
FX OPTIONS | Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank offers streaming prices of currency options on Autobahn, its FX trading platform. The Frankfurt-based bank is the leading bank globally in currency derivatives, owing in part to its advanced trading systems. Autobahn prices a wide range of options contracts, including calls, puts, strangles, straddles, risk reversals and spreads.
FX FORWARDS | Bank of America Merrill Lynch
FX forward contracts lock in exchange rates for the purchase or sale of a currency at a date anywhere from three days to 12 months in the future. This enables corporations to protect their profit margins, and eliminates any uncertainty about the future value of cash flows. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s customers can access currency trading and payments capabilities from a single screen with CashPro Foreign Exchange Services. The bank is one of the leading global providers of spot and forward currency trading.