Central Banking Awards 2023: third group of winners announced

Awards include economic research, payments reform and risk management services


The third group of winners in this year’s Central Banking Awards were published today (March 20), including an award for Enrique Martínez García and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for economic research.

The third round also highlights leading work in the field of payments and financial market infrastructures reform, as well as a major initiative by the Central Bank of Ecuador and a top provider of risk management services.

The first group of winners was unveiled on March 13 and the second on March 15. The fourth and final group will be published on March 22. All the award articles can be found at the 2023 awards hub.

Economics in central banking: Enrique Martínez García won this year’s economics prize for his path-breaking work on measuring housing market bubbles.

Over the years Martínez García has worked with fellow economists at the Dallas Fed as well as the University of Lancaster in the UK to gather data and translate these into an easily-interpreted indicator of housing stress.

Martínez García was able to use the indicator in the past year to raise the alarm over a possible housing bubble in the US and other advanced economies. His work can help policy-makers intervene early and – potentially – avoid a major crash.

“Enrique Martínez García is a thought leader at the Dallas Fed who has made innovative contributions to US and global housing monitoring with cutting-edge statistical tools,” says Lorie Logan, Dallas Fed president.

Payments and market infrastructure development: The Central Bank of Somalia won the 2023 award for PMI development.

The central bank’s efforts, in partnership with the World Bank and domestic financial institutions, have restored a payment system to the country after a nearly 30-year absence.

“The National Payment System is a testament to the progress that Somalia’s finance sector is making after decades of being cut off from the global financial markets,” says CBS governor Abdirahman Abdullahi. “We hope that these achievements will help restore the assurances of international banks, regulators, and investors with regards to Somalia’s reintegration into the international financial system.”

Payments and market infrastructure initiative: The PMI initiative award went to the National Bank of Ukraine, whose BankID system has helped keep the financial system functioning in a time of war. The NBU’s efforts reduced costs and facilitated the provision of critical documents to displaced citizens.

NBU deputy governor Oleksii Shaban says: “The NBU BankID System has enabled Ukrainians to continue to enjoy public and financial services remotely, especially if these persons have been displaced or if they cannot be serviced at bank branches due to wartime conditions.”

Initiative: The Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE) won the Initiative award for its gold acquisition programme, an important element of its reserves management and a key support measure for the local industry.

By conducting rigorous due diligence, the BCE makes sure that the gold it purchases from small-scale miners is responsibly sourced. Through the programme, the central bank successfully added around 2.5 tonnes of internationally certified gold bars into its international reserves last year, boosting its coffers by $158 million.

“Our initiative has had a significant impact on the formalisation and development of the small-scale mining sector,” says Guillermo Avellán, general manager of the BCE. “We have recently strengthened our gold commercialisation programme to ensure the compliance of local environmental and anti-money laundering regulation through co-ordinated work with regulators in these areas.”

Financial Market Infrastructure Services: Bloomberg received high praise from clients for its work in building key market operation platforms for central banks. It won this year’s award for FMI services.

In Georgia, the firm developed the central bank’s e-bond trading platform to include repo. Bloomberg also worked with the Dutch State Treasury Agency to extend its auction platform.

“Bloomberg will continue to focus on providing debt markets with robust technology and infrastructure solutions that are aimed at increasing their transparency, liquidity and trading efficiency,” says Katharine Furber, Bloomberg’s head of emerging markets trading.

Payment services: Ion Group, winner of the Payment services award, has been helping to drive the transition to the ISO 20022 messaging standard among its central bank clients.

Notably, the firm has been working with institutions involved in the Eurosystem’s “big-bang” migration to the ISO 20022 standard in Target2, the bloc’s real-time gross settlement system.

“Through Ion’s unrivalled expertise and strong collaboration with our central banking community, we were able to create a technical solution to best support the transition to ISO 20022, enabling banks to comply with the new standards and fully unlock the potential benefits that this transition presents,” says Michael Kolman, chief product officer, Ion Treasury.

Risk Management Services: KPMG, the winner of the 2023 award for Risk management services, has built a strong reputation with central banks around the world.

In the past year, KPMG worked with the Central Bank of UAE several areas, including supporting its insurance supervision team through a period of regulatory change.

Rajosik Banerjee, partner and head of financial risk management at KPMG, says: “While working on the engagement, we have leveraged the experience of working with other central banks and regulators in the banking and insurance domains. Getting recognised for the work proves that KPMG brings value for our clients and reinforces the firm’s commitment to assist our business partners in an era of rapid technological changes in the field of risk management.”

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