Central Banking Awards 2022: final winners unveiled

Prizes for Central bank of the year, Lifetime achievement, Transparency, Economics and more
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Central Banking announced its final group of 2022 award winners today (March 31), recognising the Bank of Korea as Central bank of the year.

It also named Stanley Fischer as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime achievement award.

For several months, the Central Banking team and an editorial advisory panel have been reviewing candidates and conducting interviews for the ninth annual awards. The first, second and third groups of award winners were all published earlier in March.

Central bank of the year: The Bank of Korea has demonstrated its effectiveness across all the core areas of its mandate, taking the prize for Central bank of the year.

The BoK was a fast mover in tackling inflationary risks, as the first developed-world central bank to hike its policy rate in the current cycle. At the same time, it has worked to monitor and curb financial vulnerabilities and address social concerns. It has also greened some of its own operations, and conducted detailed tests of a digital currency.

“We see this award as recognition of the tireless efforts of our monetary policy board members and bank staff in pursuit of our mandate under very difficult circumstances,” said governor Lee Ju-yeol. “But myriad challenges still remain, and we will continue to stay dedicated and committed to the tasks before us.”

Lifetime achievement: Stanley Fischer, winner of this year’s Lifetime achievement award, has had a profound impact on central banking and macroeconomics more broadly.

Fischer was one of the chief architects of the New Keynesian framework, which continues to influence central bank policy today. He has also served in major policy roles, including as chief economist of the World Bank and first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund. He served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013, and as vice-chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2017.

Christopher Jeffery, chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Stanley Fischer’s commitment to fair rules for the international monetary system, his support of independent central banks implementing quick and decisive policy, his insistence on robust financial services regulation and policy-makers having the confidence to forestall potential financial crises, and his overall influence on a new generation of public policy-makers mark a lifetime of exemplary achievement, service and purpose.”

Transparency: The Czech National Bank’s efforts to improve its already-strong commitment to openness and clarity were key to it winning this year’s Transparency award.

In the past year, it completed a redesign of its flagship monetary policy report – previously known as the inflation report – to make it accessible to a wider audience. It has also worked to attribute policy positions to particular board members and publish core details on its main forecasting model, G3+.

Jiří Rusnok, governor of the CNB, said the central bank had long been aware that independence must go “hand in hand” with a high level of accountability. “The CNB has always pursued best practices, especially in the area of monetary-policy transparency, and will continue to do so in the future,” he said.

Initiative: The Initiative award went jointly to two central banks this year: the Bank of Thailand and Monetary Authority of Singapore. The institutions broke new ground by connecting up their fast payment systems, PromptPay and PayNow, offering people a cheap, quick and secure means of sending remittances.

Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, assistant governor at the BoT, said the initiative had created the world’s first real-time cross-border fund transfer system. “PromptPay-PayNow has brought about tangible benefits to people, especially migrant workers, expats, students and small businesses,” she said.

MAS’s chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty added: “The PN-PP blueprint also lays the foundations for employing distributed ledger and smart contract technologies in retail cross-border payments, to unlock further efficiencies.”

Economics in central banking: Wenxin Du won this year’s award for Economics in central banking. The New York Fed economist shed new light on the cross-currency basis as a gauge of strains in global dollar funding markets. The previously little-understood indicator is now an essential metric for policy-makers and analysts worldwide.

Hyun Song Shin, head of research at the Bank for International Settlements, said Du’s work has been “hugely influential” in policy circles and academia.

Beverly Hirtle, director of research at the New York Fed, said: “Wenxin Du is an innovative economist who has played an important role in deepening our understanding and use of covered interest rate parity deviation in assessing global financial markets. Her work has helped this concept – which was once considered a niche, little-known topic – evolve into a key gauge of performance and risk in the financial system.”

Reserve manager: The Central Bank of the UAE took the prize this year for Reserve manager for its work in implementing a new investment and external manager policy during the past year.

The new approach entailed the adoption of a new strategic asset allocation framework that allows the institution to diversify its portfolio. Notably, this has allowed the central bank to incorporate new asset classes.

“The Central Bank of the UAE has made a clear assessment of potential claims on foreign exchange reserves,” said Central Banking’s Jeffery. “This clarity on its liquidity requirements has given the central bank confidence to diversify some assets to enhance long-term returns.”

Specialised lending initiative: BNP Paribas Securities Services has boosted its services for central banks over the past year, including a new tool to help clients meet reporting requirements for securities financing transactions. The French bank won this year’s Specialised lending initiative award.

Andrew Geggus, global head of agency lending, said: “We are extremely proud of the relationship we have built with our central bank clients. To keep pace with their changing requirements, we have adopted new product initiatives and established a strong focus on sustainable finance.”

Technology services: SAP, winner of this year’s Technology services award, took the prize for implementing an ambitious overhaul of the Saudi Central Bank’s (Sama) core banking system.

The project – completed with a ‘big bang’ launch – replaced critical systems that handle the payrolls of all Saudi Arabia’s government workers, as well as bank accounts for the country’s royal family and the central bank’s own systems for conducting market operations. After intensive work from both Sama and SAP’s teams, the launch went without a hitch.

Peter-Antonius Bramm, global head of central banks at SAP, said: “We are proud to continue our strategic partnership with Sama, and we are really looking forward to supporting Sama and working with them to achieve their goals within the strategic Saudi Vision 2030 framework.”

Risk management technology: This year’s award for Risk management technology went to BlackRock’s Aladdin Risk. The system provides daily transparency via portfolio positions and exposures, performance and attribution, portfolio risk, scenario analysis, compliance and oversight.

Sudhir Nair, global head of Aladdin at BlackRock, thanked the company’s partners in the central banking community, highlighting the Bank of Israel in particular. The Israeli central bank adopted a specially tailored version of Aladdin in 2019.

“We’re honoured to be selected by Central Banking in this way – however, the lion’s share of recognition must be reserved for our sovereign banking clients around the world,” says Nair. “These institutions are truly innovative partners and we are deeply privileged to serve them. On behalf of the entire Aladdin team, I would also like to thank Bank of Israel for putting their trust and confidence in us. We look forward to continue collaborating in the years to come.”

The Central Banking Awards 2022 articles can be found at this year’s awards hub.

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