Central Banking Awards 2023: first group of winners revealed

Awards for Central bank of the year, Risk manager and asset service providers announced today


The results are in and the first group of Central Banking Awards 2023 winners has been unveiled, with the National Bank of Ukraine taking the prize as Central bank of the year.

Central Banking has been reviewing pitches and contacting references for several months now as the editorial team and editorial advisory board narrowed down the field.

The first group of winners recognises the extraordinary success of the Ukrainian central bank in maintaining stability during the extreme shock of Russia’s invasion. It also includes the winner of the Risk manager award, and three providers of asset services to central banks.

Central bank of the year: The National Bank of Ukraine won the award after a dramatic effort by its staff to cope with the impact of the war and keep the economy functioning.

Strong contingency planning, hard work, ingenuity and bravery combined to produce a policy response that has safeguarded financial stability and prevented the worst-case outcomes for the economy.

“I am grateful to Central Banking for its high assessment of the NBU’s work,” says governor Andriy Pyshnyy. “Such recognition comes as an honour for our entire team, which has been holding the financial front line since the first shots rang out on the horrible morning of February 24 last year.”

The NBU has managed to support the government’s financing needs while controlling inflation and helping refugees retain access to hryvnias. The central bank secured banks’ liquidity, fended off cyber attacks and maintained cash distribution despite the war. Staff have often had to work from underground bunkers, and some have been killed serving in Ukraine’s armed forces.

“Despite everything, this terrible year has made us stronger and better equipped to do even more for our country, and the international recognition of our efforts only confirms that we are on the right track,” says Pyshnyy.

Risk manager: Bank Negara Malaysia is the winner of this year’s Risk manager award for reforms to its cyber security framework.

BNM made the decision to move away from a zero-tolerance approach towards information leaks to a more pragmatic system based on a sophisticated system of risk tolerance thresholds.

BNM was not alone in experiencing heightened threats to cyber and information security, as we embraced a hybrid working arrangement,” says governor Nor Shamsiah Yunus. “Recognising that any chain is as strong as its weakest link, we adopted a whole-of-bank approach, emphasising that all staff have an equally important role to play in fortifying our defences against these threats.”

Asset manager: Invesco wins this year’s award for the asset management services it provides to central bank clients. The firm has worked hard to grow its footprint with central banks, and has seen the strategy pay off as its list of clients and investments grows.

Notably, the firm secured substantial investment in its quantitative strategies. One central bank chose to grant Invesco a mandate for a “value, momentum and quality” strategy”.

Oliver Bilal, head of Emea distribution at Invesco, says: “The award reflects the suitability of our diversified multi-factor strategy for central banks, which is built on well-proven drivers of long-term returns and is managed by our established Invesco Quantitative Strategies team.”

Asset services provider: The award goes to HSBC, which has developed its highly-regarded services for central banks in the past year to significantly grow its book of lendable asset from central banks and sovereign investors.

HSBC has helped to develop the local securities lending market in Saudi Arabia, and is working on similar projects in other Middle Eastern countries, while continuing to develop lending markets in Asia.

“A robust, performance-focused securities lending offering is a core pillar of our product set,” says Sebastien Danloy, interim head of securities services at HSBC. “We also look forward to the opportunity to continue working with regulators across jurisdictions as they develop securities-lending capabilities in their respective markets.”

Asset services initiative: A particularly noteworthy initiative in the past year was the World Bank’s development of a dual-mandate structure to help investors manage onshore and offshore renminbi trading. It wins the 2023 award for Asset services initiative.

In 2022 the World Bank rolled the service out to its first central banking client, a member of the Reserve Advisory and Management Partnership (Ramp). This required a major effort to integrate existing custodian relationships with the unique Chinese framework.

Thérèse Couture, director of asset management and advisory at the World Bank Treasury department, says the bank was “delighted” to work on a customised mandate with its central bank client. “The mandate is a testament to the strength of the partnership and the peer-to-peer expertise that supports institutional development for all Ramp members.”

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