Bank of Israel and Sama triumph in latest Central Banking Awards

Middle Eastern central banks take home Reserve manager and initiative of the year in Central Banking’s 2017 awards


The Bank of Israel and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama) have been praised for their work in the management of reserves and risk in the latest set of Central Banking Awards.

Celebrated alongside BNP Paribas and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the two central banks proved they have gone above and beyond in their respective categories in the year in review.

Winning Reserve manager of the year, the Bank of Israel showed how it carefully handled the evolution of its reserve management framework in the wake of the global financial crisis.

ahmed-abdulkarim-alkholifeySama governor Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey. Photo: Sagia

"The challenges for reserves management have dramatically increased because of the combination of the increase in the size of reserves in many countries and the very low – and even negative – yields in developed economies," said Karnit Flug, governor of the central bank.

The institution's market operations team has conducted extensive work in the field of sensitivity analysis of near-optimal portfolios in addition to risk-based diversification.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority garnered praise for its efforts to establish an institution-wide risk management framework with an emphasis on risk compliance.

Central to its efforts during the past year was the ‘compliance standards activation project', which aimed to kick-start compliance standards identified as inactive or partially active.

"Enterprise risk management is a holistic strategy, wherein Sama undertook a rigorous risk identification exercise to document key processes, with a strong focus on operational, compliance and reputational risks," said Sama governor Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey.

Market practitioners tackle uncertain environment

BNP Paribas won this year's global securities lending award, while SSGA claimed the prize for asset management.

BNPP managed to grow its portfolio by 30% this year, despite the challenging market environment. Many brokerages can borrow securities and settle them internally with their accounts at BNPP.

Meanwhile, SSGA has successfully managed the low-yield environment that persisted in 2016. In the year in review, the asset manager excelled in providing solid service in both passive equity and active fixed income for its central bank clients.

The remainder of Central Banking's awards will be announced over the coming days.

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