Introducing the Winners
2018 Awards for Innovation and Excellence
By Eleanor Hill, Editor
Against a backdrop of continual change – from disruptive technologies to new regulations and geopolitical challenges – transaction banks and treasury vendors continue to innovate on behalf of their clients. As this year’s high-quality submissions demonstrate, it’s not just the stalwarts who are investing in new services; fintechs are also getting in on the act. As such, we’re delighted to welcome some new names among our 2018 award winners, alongside those organisations which consistently deliver excellence – year in, year out.
There was a hot contest this year between Citi and HSBC, with both banks taking away a clutch of awards. Citi was recognised for its Cash & Liquidity Management capabilities in the Middle East & Africa where the bank has continued to support clients with best-in-class solutions and delivered innovation through digital tools leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) and robotic process automation (RPA). Citi has also entered into innovative strategic partnerships with selected fintechs to help clients achieve efficiencies in areas such as payments.
Citi was also awarded Best Bank for Financial Supply Chain in Europe, the Middle East & Africa and South America. In all three geographies, the bank has consistently invested and innovated to develop its supply chain finance (SCF) capabilities, facilitating standardisation, automation and efficiency for clients. Moreover, Citi® Supplier Finance, the bank’s global SCF platform, provides clients with enhanced visibility and control and offers several market-leading digital tools, including a Resource Centre, to support, engage and service buyers and suppliers throughout their SCF journey.
Meanwhile, HSBC was recognised as the Best Bank for Cash & Liquidity Management in Asia Pacific and North America, also taking away the Global award in that category. Major achievements in Asia Pacific included the roll-out of the bank’s Liquidity Management Portal, mobile payments and collections innovations in a number of countries, and the introduction of the bank’s new Digital Accounts Reconciliation Tool (DART). In North America, and indeed globally, the bank continues to invest significantly in helping its clients to embrace digitisation, drawing on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), big data, blockchain, APIs and biometrics. The bank has also been collaborating with fintechs, regulators, and banking peers worldwide to create a new innovation ecosystem – and the judges were delighted to recognise this forward-thinking approach.
HSBC also took away Financial Supply Chain awards for the bank’s work in China, Asia Pacific and North America. Across all three geographies, the judges were impressed with the bank’s commitment to digital innovation. In China, the bank’s notable achievements included the roll-out of the HSBC Integrated Electronic Commercial Draft System (ECDS) Solution, which is an end-to-end working capital solution combined with cash management. In Asia Pacific, HSBC’s Innovation teams are working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and a consortium of banks to investigate the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address potential business needs in the trade finance space. And in North America, collaboration with fintechs is driving yet further financial supply chain excellence for the bank’s clients, through digital innovation.
Deutsche Bank was once again named as the Best Bank for Cash & Liquidity Management in Europe. Innovation, user experience, network, and security continue to be the key areas of strategic focus for the bank. The judges were particularly impressed by the bank’s fresh approach to the use of digital signatures to accelerate account opening for clients. The panel also appreciated Deutsche Bank’s efforts to promote SWIFT’s gpi initiative across Europe, going above and beyond to help corporate treasurers reap the benefits.
The China and South America Cash & Liquidity awards were won by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 2018 marked the bank’s 46th year in China and the bank continued to deliver outstanding service with innovations and enhancements in a number of areas, including mobile channels and automated, paperless workflows. The panel’s decision was also influenced by the fact that the bank remains a key thought leader, delivering innovative treasury solutions for clients within the country’s regulatory framework. Meanwhile, in Latin America, the bank has introduced a number of leading-edge solutions, ranging from Electronic Boleto Presentment and Payment in Brazil to Mexico-US cross-border sweeps with Mexico SPID (the USD interbank payment system implemented by Banxico for domestic USD payments). Together with the bank’s consistently high service levels, the judges felt that these were undeniably award-winning innovations.
This year’s award for Cash & Liquidity Management in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) was scooped by UniCredit. The bank is at the forefront of innovation in instant and faster payments and has championed initiatives such as SEPA Instant Credit Transfers (SCT Inst) and SWIFT gpi across the CEE region. The judges applauded the bank’s efforts to not only promote SCT Inst, but also to improve it on behalf of clients, gathering feedback and working with the relevant partners to deliver enhancements to the service.
Staying in Central & Eastern Europe, this year’s award for the best Financial Supply Chain bank in the region went to ING. The bank recently executed one of the first real trade transactions based on blockchain technology and continues to partner with a number of trade finance fintechs, other financial institutions and corporates, to develop platform-based solutions for clients across the CEE region and beyond. The extremely positive feedback from ING’s clients using its SCF solutions in the region was another factor supporting the judges’ decision.
BNP Paribas was named as the Global Bank of the Year in the Financial Supply Chain category. The bank’s clients continue to benefit from a wide range of innovative financial supply chain services and tailor-made solutions designed to help increase liquidity, manage risk and optimise working capital management. The judges praised the fact that BNP Paribas operates clients’ supply chain management programmes on an in-house state-of-the-art web-based platform, Connexis Supply Chain. However, it was the bank’s innovative spirit, as demonstrated by its involvement in cutting-edge initiatives such as the Trado project and the Trade Information Network, that ultimately made up the judges’ minds.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) retained its Global title as the Best Money Market Funds (MMFs) Provider. With a reputation for risk management, investment performance and first-class service, JPMAM is now the world’s largest institutional MMFs provider. Both JPMAM’s investment into its client technology offering and the expert guidance and counsel it has provided to corporate treasurers around regulatory reform were key factors in the judges’ decision-making process.
In June 2018, Hanse Orga rebranded to Serrala. The new mark brings together the best of seven existing brands: Hanse Orga, cogon, SymQ, Dolphin Enterprise Solutions, e5 Solutions, Tembit Software and SOPLEX Consult. The judges were delighted to recognise the company’s new cloud-based payments solution, Alevate Payments, as the Best Accounts Payable solution – especially since it included innovative features for automated fraud prevention and compliance checks. The panel was equally impressed with Serrala’s new Managed Services SmartEye Cloud and awarded it Best Accounts Receivable solution. Launched in 2018, this new managed service processes all remittance advice data automatically in the cloud and then feeds it back directly into the corporate’s SAP ERP systems for cash application, eliminating the manual work involved in remittance advice handling.