Stamford, CT – Macroeconomic volatility in Asia could actually be working to the advantage of the world’s biggest corporate banks. In times of market dislocation and stress, corporate executives are eager to rely on the expertise, capabilities and deep balance sheets of banks with networks that span not only the region, but the world.
Although competition in Asian corporate banking appears to be heating up, global banks still have some important advantages over regional and local players. Large Asian companies have always relied on global banks for expertise and reach into western markets, but as the U.S.-China trade war and other developments cause disruptions, more companies are looking for advice and assistance within and across the Asian region itself.
In that capacity, the “global locals” of Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank often are best positioned to deliver. But the other global banks are also benefiting from their ability to provide advice and support across a variety of Asian countries—including funding support.
“In the face macro changes and shifting supply chains, it makes sense for large Asian companies to turn to banks that span multiple Asian countries and with deep expertise in transaction banking and other key areas,” says Greenwich Associates Head of Asia Pacific & Middle East Gaurav Arora.
Despite any shifts in the competitive landscape, the list of 2020 Greenwich Share Leaders in Asian Corporate Banking is still topped by the global locals that have traditionally dominated this market.
HSBC, which scores first in terms of market penetration, appears to be pivoting to an even greater strategic focus on Asia that is already paying off. Greenwich Associates expects that momentum to spread as the bank looks to diversify its franchise in the region by reducing its business concentration in Hong Kong and generating more revenues elsewhere in Asia.
Citi, which is tied for second with Standard Chartered, remains perhaps the region’s top bank when it comes to digital innovation, design and product capabilities in the critical world of cash management—a fact that helped it cement its leading position in that business in 2020. ANZ Bank continued its progress as a key “Asia network” bank for Western multinationals and Asian corporates, retaining the crown of Greenwich Quality Leader. And while BNP Paribas is well-recognised for the strength of its trade and structured finance franchise, the bank has also stepped into the Top-5 space as a credible large corporate banking and cash management provider in Asia.
One bank to watch in the year to come is DBS Bank, which ranks fourth in market penetration but has generated significant momentum of its own, largely due to its big investments in technology. DBS Bank is building a strong suite of digital capabilities and is being recognised more and more often by Asian corporates for innovation and creativity.