Central Banking Awards 2023: final group of winners revealed

Awards recognise lifetime achievement of Stefan Ingves, as well as reserves management, currency, technology and more

Central Banking published the fourth and final tranche of award winners today (March 22), bringing a close to the 2023 awards with a recognition of the lifetime achievements of Stefan Ingves.

Today’s awards also recognise the Central Bank of Brazil for its leading reserves management, with further prizes for a green initiative, currency management and technology services.

The first group of winners was unveiled on March 13, the second on March 15 and the third on March 20. All the award articles can be found at the 2023 awards hub.

Lifetime achievement: Ingves, who was governor of Sveriges Riksbank from 2006 until 2023, won the Lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the central banking community. As well as his long service at the Riksbank he led post-crisis reforms as chair of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and directed the monetary and financial systems department at the International Monetary Fund.

The awards judges highlighted how Ingves has demonstrated an ability to break down complex problems and resolve them in a pragmatic, speedy manner – often amid great uncertainty – while always seeking to explain his actions in clear language.

As governor, Ingves boosted transparency at the Riksbank, and pioneered new policy approaches – even amid controversy, such as the central bank’s much-debated decision to ‘lean against the wind’.

Ingves says: “During my, by now almost 30, years in central banking it has been a privilege to work in different capacities and on many different central banking issues. I have done my best to serve the common good with a focus on getting things done while trying to straddle theory and practice. I am both moved and proud to have received this award.”

Reserve manager: The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) has been busy. It has revamped its reserve management processes; improved its organisational structure; changed asset allocations, instruments and investment rules; and adopted new technology.

The changes have helped limit excessive moves in the local foreign exchange market, diversify the portfolio, and improve internal systems. For its efforts, it won the 2023 Reserve manager award.

“The prudent, and at the same time innovative, way in which the management of Brazil’s international reserves was conducted has been instrumental in fulfilling the BCB’s mandate of keeping price stability while safeguarding financial stability,” says Roberto Campos Neto, BCB governor.

Deputy governor Bruno Serra Fernandes adds it took a “great deal of mindfulness” to manage the $300 billion portfolio through the recent period of turbulence, and “also openness and flexibility to rethink established processes”.

Green initiative: A consistent pioneer in driving green finance has been the Netherlands Bank (DNB), winner of this year’s Green initiative award.

In 2022, DNB used its regular strategic asset allocation exercise to assess how its portfolio affected, and was affected by, environmental factors. The findings from the exercise helped the Dutch central bank to make significant changes in its portfolio and adopt an active management stance.

Governor Klaas Knot says DNB “has the ambition to integrate sustainability” into all core tasks, from supervision to economic research and “of course”, reserves management. “The Strategic Asset Allocation is an area where developments have been slow in the industry; this gave us a great opportunity to pioneer,” he says.

The governor says the world is not on track to limit global average temperate increases to 1.5C relative to pre-industrial times. He adds the central bank now aims to align all its investments with the Paris agreement on climate change, starting with an equity mandate this year.

Currency manager: The Currency manager award this year is a joint one, going to the National Bank of Poland and National Bank of Ukraine for their collaboration to help Ukrainian refugees access and convert cash.

“Even though the co-operation between our banks has continued for decades, it acquired a special character and importance in the face of Russia’s bestial attack on Ukraine,” says Adam Glapiński, governor of the NBP. He says between March and September 2022, over 100,000 Ukrainian citizens were able to exchange currency through the facility.

Sergiy Nikolaychuk, deputy governor of the NBU, adds that the arrangement was a first for the Ukrainian central bank. “We are extremely grateful to our Polish colleagues for their co-operation, support and compassion towards Ukrainian displaced persons,” he says.

Currency services: Note Printing Australia won the 2023 award for Currency services for its collaboration with the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP) to produce polymer notes.

NPA will initially print the polymer notes and is also training and assisting the BSP in developing its own capacity to print on polymer, which the central bank expects to do once it has completed its new printworks in central Luzon.

“Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have been an ideal partner in this 1,000 piso polymer banknote project, which has been characterised by a positive and transparent approach in which both the bank and NPA have worked hard to support each other,” says Malcolm McDowell, chief executive of NPA.

Technology services: Cyber security is a key concern for central banks, and the Technology services award goes to SecurEyes for its work in supporting a major central bank with its cyber defences.

The Indian cyber security specialist developed a tech product that enables near-to-real-time supervision in areas of cyber security, business continuity, IT governance and cyber fraud.

Seemanta Patnaik, chief technology officer, says the firm’s RegTrac product “will go a long way” towards helping central banks “with risk-based supervisory capabilities to manage risks and compliance”.

Technology services – treasury: Adenza is the winner of the 2023 award for Technology services – treasury. The firm, owner of the Calypso treasury management platform, has broken new ground with a cloud-based version of the system, now being used in a central banking context for the first time.

A mid-sized European central bank has already moved to the CapCloud platform for reserves management, and is currently transitioning its open market operations. A second central bank has now signed up.

Gil Guillaumey, head of strategy, capital market solutions at Adenza, says: “With our comprehensive solution and innovative ‘super tools’ – cloud enablement and the new e-Monetary Portal – central banks can simplify and optimise their approach to reserve, treasury, collateral management and member-bank interaction in a truly integrated way.”

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