Central Banking’s 8th Annual Industry Awards

Central Banking is pleased to announce the winners of its 8th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community
Central Banking Awards 2021

Central Banking’s 8th Annual Industry Awards

March 24,2021: For immediate release

Central Banking is pleased to announce the winners of its 8th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community.  \#CBawards

  • Central Bank of the Year: Federal Reserve System
  • Governor of the Year: Alejandro Díaz de León
  • Lifetime Achievement: Charles Goodhart
  • Economics in Central Banking: ‘Patterns in invoicing currency in global trade’, Emine Boz, Camila Casas, Georgios Georgiadis, Gita Gopinath, Helena Le Mezo, Arnaud Mehl and Tra Nguyen
  • Reserve Manager: Bank Indonesia
  • Green Initiative: Bank of England
  • Initiative of the Year: Saudi Central Bank’s Business Continuity Programme
  • Risk Manager: National Bank of Georgia
  • Currency Manager: National Bank of Ukraine
  • Currency Initiative: CDI2 standards – ECB & Federal Reserve
  • Communications initiative: Bank of Portugal
  • Website: Central Bank of the Philippines
  • Transparency: National Bank of Georgia
  • Payments and Market Infrastructure (retail): Central Bank of Hungary
  • Payments and Market Infrastructure (wholesale): Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Asset Manager: BNP Paribas
  • Climate Initiative: HSBC
  • Innovation in Reserve Management: World Bank Treasury & ANZ Bank
  • Climate Portfolio Services: RepRisk
  • Specialised Lending Initiative: Clearstream
  • Global Markets: BNP Paribas
  • Advisory Services: Oliver Wyman
  • Currency Services Provider: Crane Currency
  • Currency Services Initiative: CCL Secure’s Recycling Program
  • Collateral Management Services: Calypso
  • Risk Management Technology: Ion Treasury
  • Treasury Systems Initiative: Refinitiv
  • Financial Market Infrastructure Services: Bloomberg
  • Payment Services: ACI Worldwide

Drawing on 31 years of independent and informed reporting, analysis and comment, the Central Banking Awards were judged by a panel made up of members of the Central Banking Editorial Team and Editorial Advisory Board.

A brief description follows detailing the rationale for the awards, as well as reaction comments from: Kristalina Georgieva, Alejandro Díaz de León, Andrew Bailey, Perry Warjiyo Charles Goodhart, Mervyn King, Benjamin Diokno, Mário Centeno, György Matolcsy, Adrian Orr, Mark Gould, Ton Roos, Fahd Al-Mubarak and Gita Gopinath.

Other reactions include those from market leaders, including; Michael Ellam, Paul Snaith, Sandro Pierri, Philipp Aeby, Tilman Fechter, Viktor Zaivenko, Sam KeayesNeil SandersJeremy Wilmot, Will Oberuch, Richard Grossi, Sachin Somani, Anshu Vats, Laurent Leveque and Richard Bentley.

Central Bank: Federal Reserve System

Lockdowns and other measures undertaken to contain the Covid-19 health emergency in 2020 sparked a major economic crisis. That financial markets did not completely break down also was due primarily to the actions of one central bank, the Federal Reserve System. The US central bank pulled out all the stops in its efforts to shore up dollar liquidity. And it did so extraordinarily quickly. In little over two months from March 2020, the Fed had committed $31 billion in average daily discount window demand, $2.5 trillion cumulative to repo lending and $2.2 trillion in asset purchases. On the macro-prudential level, it released up to $250 billion in supplementary leverage ratio adjustments, strongly advised banks to restrict dividend payments, and rapidly changed its stress tests of major US banks to ensure the banking system could function and extend credit to households and businesses.

The Fed’s actions also underpinned international markets, with rates lowered for existing bilateral dollar swap lines with the central banks of Canada, the eurozone, Japan, Switzerland and the UK, and the number of bilateral dollar swap lines extended. The Fed also set up a temporary repo facility for foreign and international monetary authorities – an important move that bolstered confidence and eased selling pressure in the Treasuries market.

The Fed undertook several other significant steps during 2020, including efforts to introduce instant payments, joining the Network for Greening the Financial System and in-depth research into the future workings of a ‘digital dollar’ – to name but a few. But, perhaps the most significant for the near term was its decision on August 27 to become the first central bank to adopt an ‘average inflation targeting’ (AIT) monetary policy regime after an extensive and open consultation period.

Jerome Powell, Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

“We are honoured to receive this award, particularly during such challenging times. The credit must go to the broad Fed team – many of whom are veterans of the global financial crisis – for their hard work and dedication to our mission.”

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said:

“The Federal Reserve took rapid and decisive actions in response to Covid-19, including deploying innovative programmes to keep credit flowing and to support international dollar funding markets. Jerome Powell and the Federal Reserve System deserve credit for their agile and creative efforts to support global financial stability in the face of severe stresses – helping to avert a financial crisis that could have morphed into another Great Depression.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “This award recognises the exceptional efforts undertaken by the staff of the Federal Reserve System in March and April of 2020 to ensure that the Covid-19 heath emergency and economic downturn were not compounded by an international financial crisis. Under the exemplary leadership of Jerome Powell, the Fed acted both rapidly and with overwhelming firepower to keep credit flowing to US households and businesses, while also averting a meltdown in US dollar-denominated financial markets.

“The Fed has also been highly progressive in having reviewed its monetary policy strategy (and committed to do so every five years or so). Judges said the review process, particularly the Fed Listens sessions, was transparent and involved consulting with real people as well as specialists, notably drawing on the strengths of the regional reserve bank structure. While the average inflation targeting framework has yet to be properly tested, it does appear to make it more likely that the Fed should achieve its 2% goal in a low-rate economy – and the Fed’s work in this area is influencing reviews at a number of other major central banks.”

Governor of the Year: Alejandro Díaz de León

The leadership skills of central bank governors were tested to the full in 2020 as they implemented emergency actions aimed at preventing financial and economic meltdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The governor of the Bank of Mexico, Alejandro Díaz de León, has upheld the authority, integrity and independence of the central bank during this troubled time, against significant external and internal pressures. As Mexico’s peso came under pressure, Díaz de León presided over the loosening of monetary policy to help support an economy that failed to receive the same level of fiscal injections as many of its international peers.

Díaz de León also had to negotiate Mexico’s political environment, most notably resisting pressure at times from the nation’s president. The governor has spoken out against legislation aimed at altering the central bank’s autonomy, resisted the reduction of staff wages that would have resulted in a ‘brain drain’ and ensured financial transfers to the government took place according to pre-established rules. Moreover, Díaz de León has improved the Bank of Mexico’s operations in several respects during the past year and will likely continue to do so.

Accepting the award, Governor of the Bank of Mexico Alejandro Díaz de León said:

“I am deeply honoured to accept, on behalf of Banco de México, this award. It is an extensive recognition to the permanent work of the central bank.

“Banco de México became an autonomous central bank in 1994 with a clear price-stability mandate. It also has two interrelated objectives, the sound development of the financial system and the proper functioning of the payments system. Throughout the 21st century, we have left behind the inflation levels of two and up to three digits of the past decades to the current levels around the permanent target of 3%.

“In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had a strong impact on all economies, although with deeper trade-offs in emerging markets. In Mexico, it caused a triple shock, financial, and to supply and demand, which significantly affected economic activity and financial markets. In this context, Banco de México’s monetary policy has sought to achieve a consistent and sustained convergence of inflation to its target, as well as to foster the conditions for an orderly adjustment of domestic financial markets, capital flows stabilisation, financial stability, and supporting the economic recovery. This contributed to a downward adjustment throughout the yield curve, a key element to allow for a sustained recovery. To mitigate the risks faced by the Mexican financial system, Banco de México announced extraordinary measures to promote an orderly behavior of financial markets, provide liquidity, and strengthen all credit-provision channels. It also took steps to ensure the proper functioning of the payments system. The global economy is expected to recover in the year ahead, although at a very heterogeneous pace. After contracting 8.2% in 2020, we expect the Mexican economy to expand 4.8% in 2021 and 3.3% in 2022. As the world transitions to a post-pandemic environment, the central bank will continue to take the necessary actions to promote an orderly adjustment and a better environment for economic growth.

“The challenges and complex environment derived from the pandemic have highlighted the importance for the economy and society of having an autonomous central bank focused on attaining price and financial stability.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Alejandro Díaz de León has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills during the past year. He has led Banxico’s governing board to implement prudent monetary policy, liquidity and credit loosening at a time when the peso was under pressure and the central bank had limited fiscal support from the country’s government. He has had to face down a series of attempts – deliberate or otherwise – by Mexico’s president to lessen the central bank’s independence, responding with firm statements of principle, a refusal to be cowed, and a willingness to seek practical solutions to problems. Meanwhile, Bank of Mexico has continued to upgrade its core functions and improve transparency for the benefit of the Mexican people.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Charles Goodhart

Charles Goodhart has made major theoretical and practical contributions to central banking through his work as an economist and economic practitioner for more than half a century. The London School of Economics and Bank of England veteran economist has his own ‘law’, and played a key role in the rediscovery of monetary policy in the UK, Hong Kong’s currency peg and the ‘New Zealand model’. Goodhart’s influence on central banking has stemmed from his ability to link creative ideas to immediate practical decisions. Although he is well known in the central banking community for his research on an array of subjects – monetary policy, the Exchange Rate Mechanism and monetary union, the role and function of central banks, and financial stability – much of Goodhart’s academic publishing in the late 1980s and 1990s was on the analysis of foreign exchange markets, where he pioneered the use of high-frequency data. He is characterised by colleagues and peers as a brilliant and generous person with a formidable ability to process complex ideas, smoothly linking theory with practice, and explaining it all in terms understandable by non-experts.

Charles Goodhart, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and former Senior Adviser and MPC External Member of the Bank of England, said: “To have been associated with central banking – especially the Bank of England, which I first entered in 1968 – for over 50 years has been a perpetual source of pleasure and interest. Over the decades, central banks have passed through periods in which their roles, functions and relationships with their Treasuries have seemed assured and clear-cut through to periods of uncertainty, with changing roles, relationships and theories. I joined the Bank of England at such a time of change; we returned to a period of certainty during the Great Moderation from the 1990s until 2007 (perhaps the acme of central banking), but are now back in another period of changing roles, relationships and theories.”

Former governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said:

“For many decades, Charles Goodhart has been the éminence grise inspiring those responsible for the theory and practice of monetary policy.” 

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Charles Goodhart has influenced a generation of central bankers, notably through his work on monetary frameworks, governance practices and financial markets. The judges noted how ‘Goodhart’s law’ predates the ‘Lucas critique’ and that his work has played a key role in the rediscovery of monetary policy in the UK, Hong Kong’s peg and the ‘New Zealand model’. Note was also made of Goodhart’s efforts towards establishing greater unity between economics and market operations, and his use of high-frequency data to study how news shocks propagated through markets. Also noted were Goodhart’s more recent important contributions related to financial stability, financial regulation and demographic change, including concerns that sharper-than-expected rises in inflation combined with extra burdens related to financial stability may challenge the future independence of central banks.

“Goodhart’s work has had a profound and pervasive impact on a number of central banks, and, combined with his patient efforts to train younger generations, has influenced a generation of central bankers.”

Economics in Central Banking: ‘Patterns in invoicing currency in global trade’, Emine Boz, Camila Casas, Georgios Georgiadis, Gita Gopinath, Helena Le Mezo, Arnaud Mehl and Tra Nguyen

Little more than 10 years on from the global financial crisis, the markets crisis triggered by Covid-19 served as another reminder of the tight financial interlinkages in the global economy, as well as its heavy reliance on the US dollar. The working paper ‘Patterns in invoicing currency in global trade’ could not have been better timed. The paper presents the results of an extensive data-gathering exercise on global invoicing currencies, filling an empirical void that existed alongside economists’ increasingly detailed theoretical understanding of dominant-currency pricing. The paper also sheds light on critical issues for the global financial system, which could help central banks develop a more holistic policy-making approach. Additionally, the work opens up new avenues for future research.

Gita Gopinath, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund, commented:

Macroeconomic policies have been guided for long by the assumption that the use of a country’s currency in world trade is closely tied to its share in world trade. This new dataset on currency of invoicing in trade builds on previous research and further demonstrates that there is little support for this assumption. Policies therefore need to be designed for a world with strong asymmetries in the use of currencies, including the dominant role of the dollar.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The judges were impressed by the paper’s important empirical contribution based on the unique dataset the economists involved have compiled. The paper also sheds light on critical issues for the global financial system, which could help central banks develop more holistic policy-making approaches, while also opening up important avenues for future new research.”

Reserve Manager of the Year: Bank Indonesia

Bank Indonesia has transformed its previously simple reserve management approach into a new sophisticated multi-asset and multi-currency portfolio. This stems from bold reforms under the leadership of Governor Perry Warjiyo, encompassing the reserve management framework, governance and organisation structures, human resources and technology. A new macro-factor SAA framework was adopted that considers assets and liabilities linked to the currency as well as asset cycle risks. A three-tier decision making process – the Board of Governors, Reserve Management Committee and Reserve Management Department –strengthens its governance structure. This has resulted in all-time high levels of reserves and a stabilised rupiah exchange rate.

Perry Warjiyo, Governor of Bank Indonesia said: “The achievement reflects the reforms that put the new reserve management framework as an integral part of Bank Indonesia’s monetary and macroprudential policy mix that I am pioneering among the emerging markets. The adoption of this framework and exchange rate stabilisation policy played a key role in rapidly reversing the currency’s depreciation while preserving reserve levels during the unprecedented shocks due to Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020. Overall, Bank Indonesia’s achievements in maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability from the pandemic outbreak are impressive.” 

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:Bank Indonesia’s macro-factor SAA has helped the South-east Asian central bank to maintain a laser focus on foreign currency liquidity needs at a critical time, with the reserves department working closely with monetary operations on its ‘triple intervention’; while still affording the opportunity to make higher returns by investing in alternative assets.”

Green Initiative: Bank of England

The Bank of England has blazed a trail for others by disclosing climate related-risks across all its operations – a key step in ensuring a sustainable economic future. It was the first central bank to disclose climate-related risks associated with its monetary policy portfolio. The BoE’s move represents the biggest step so far towards full disclosure of climate risks by any central bank. Its disclosures are wide-ranging, using the framework created by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The central bank is also heavily encouraging those it regulates to follow a similar approach. Assessing the climate-related risks of all the BoE’s portfolios was a complex goal that took considerable co-ordination.

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, said:

“Climate disclosure is essential for consumers, businesses, investors and policy-makers to make informed choices that put us on the path to net zero. The Bank has for some time been a strong advocate of the TCFD, and, in 2020, we applied the framework ourselves. Our climate disclosure report looked across all our operations, including our policy portfolios. The disclosures let us scrutinise the climate risks in our own operations, and have helped us consider what further action we should take. I am immensely proud of the contributions made by all areas of the Bank in making this report a reality, and thank the Central Banking Awards Committee for recognising those contributions.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The Bank of England has worked hard to establish methods for assessing climate-related risks by engaging with external parties, and it is committed to sharing this knowledge with other central banks. The disclosure of climate-related risks linked to its monetary policy portfolio is a particularly big step forward, and is something that looks set to be emulated by its peers.”

Initiative of the Year: Saudi Central Bank’s Business Continuity Programme

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, few central banks were better placed to address the exceptional business interruptions than the Saudi Central Bank. SAMA began developing its business continuity plans more than four years ago, with the aim to manage crises in a manner that would minimise business disruption related to operational, financial, reputational, legal and regulatory risks – while also putting in place the processes, emergency funding, communication and key stakeholder engagement to effectively manage its business continuity programme. In addition to the establishment of alternate data centres and a new back-up site facility, Sama established clear crisis-response practices and gave its staff the tools needed to carry out their duties.

Fahd Al-Mubarak, Governor of the Saudi Central Bank, said:

“Risk management and business continuity are important for financial stability. This is an area that requires continuous monitoring for addressing any potential risks and disruptions to operations in the financial sector. The Saudi Central Bank’s risk and business continuity management framework follows leading practices and standards in this area for operational efficiency and reputational integrity in fulfilling its strategic objectives linked to Saudi Vision 2030.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Meticulous advanced planning coupled with on-the-ground adaptations allowed Saudi Central Bank employees and systems to continue operating critical functions despite Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions in 2020. Emails were sent to all employees explaining their roles and responsibilities and new communication channels were established, with team leaders sending daily reports on the status of the BCP during lockdown. In particular, extensive contingency plans were put in place to address potential cyber security risks, interruptions in government salary payments and interruptions to currency supply.”

Risk Manager: National Bank of Georgia

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Georgian lari fell by 20.2% against the dollar, resulting in significant central bank intervention. The National Bank of Georgia also needed to deploy US dollars to sustain the functioning of the internal market and the financial system. Key to the central bank’s successful financial management was its previous use of liquidity stress tests, which provided confidence to ease daily threshold limits that facilitated exchange rate, internal market and financial system support, without forcing the liquidation of illiquid reserves. The Georgian authorities also made important use of hedge positions and enhanced international liquidity lines.

Governor of the National Bank of Georgia, Koba Gvenetadze, said:

“When it comes to protecting financial stability, international reserves stand out among the ammunitions at the central bank’s disposal. Recognising that, we have invested considerable efforts into building our reserves and risk management capacity. Our success relies on a capable and motivated team, state of the art IT infrastructure and visionary management who support ambitious initiatives. The pandemic was a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for us all, testing everything we have built over the past decade.

“While we never anticipated a shock of such magnitude, we are proud to have weathered the storm. We were able to quickly switch our reserve management operations to remote mode, retaining our full operational scope while continuing to support local markets with foreign currency and liquidity, thus preserving financial stability. It is a great honour that our efforts are recognised by the central banking community. This motivates us to continue to strive for excellence.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The NBG has embarked on an ambitious reserve management, monetary operations and financial system stability framework that requires sound risk management and monitoring. The framework stood up to the test from the Covid-19 shock, allowing the central bank to defend excess volatility in the exchange rate as well as the functioning of the internal market, while preserving reserves levels. Daily risk thresholds were eased in some areas to avoid the forced liquidation of positions, which was only possible due to confidence provided by strict liquidity stress tests that had been practised by the NBG.”

Currency Manager: National Bank of Ukraine

In 2014, the National Bank of Ukraine began a major shakeup of its banknotes and coins. It subsequently reduced the number of denominations in circulation from 16 to 12, demonetising some coins and converting some banknotes to coins, and introduced a new, high-value note. The central bank’s decisive actions to upgrade the new series of banknotes are already starting to pay off. Not only has it managed to save a significant amount of cost, but the number of counterfeits per million has also decreased markedly. The decision to use a hybrid substrate has been instrumental; the two-layered substrate has allowed the central bank to integrate state-of-the-art security features into the design, without being limited to those specifically for paper or polymer substrates.

Viktor Zaivenko, Director of the Cash Circulation Department at the National Bank of Ukraine said:

“Over the last few years, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has put a lot of effort into the large-scale optimisation of Ukrainian currency notes and coins. Having researched the best global practices, we started to implement gradual and systemic changes aimed at improvement of the cash cycle. Since the introduction of Ukrainian currency in circulation, our economy and the consumer behaviour of Ukrainians have thoroughly changed, with cashless payments also becoming widely used. All this drove the NBU’s decisive and complex steps that culminated in the reduction in the number of notes and coins in the currency family from 16 to 12. The new family will have six coins and six banknotes, in line with the global practices. The main idea and aim is to make it simple, reliable and convenient. The cash will be more secure and of higher quality, making cash settlements better structured and comfortable. The social costs of cash circulation in the country will also lessen. Public savings will reach 90 million hyrvnias per year due to the decreased cost of production and processing of low-denomination coins. Furthermore, the switch from low-denomination banknotes to coins will save another one billion hyrvnias over the next decades.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Over the past six years, the National Bank of Ukraine has taken on the significant undertaking by launching a completely new coin and banknote series, notably reducing the number of denominations in circulation by a third. The central bank expertly navigated the communication landscape, learning from international best practice on how to successfully demonetise denominations in quick succession. The NBU also took great care in choosing new, state-of-the-art security features as it removed old banknotes from circulation. This net result should be a more usable, cost-effective and secure currency.”

Currency Initiative: CDI2 standards – European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve

Since the start of 2015, the Federal Reserve and the European Central bank worked on a set of standards for banknote-sorting machines. The aim is to ensure banknote sensors can be integrated into any banknote-sorting machine, meaning manufacturers will not have to create multiple versions of sensors every time a central bank upgrades its banknotes with new machine-readable features. Finalised at the start of 2020, the new standards look set to change the face of the industry by ensuring more consistent banknote sorting across the world.

Mark Gould, the Federal Reserve System’s First Chief Payments Executive, said:

“We are honoured to accept this award with the European Central Bank. Work to advance CDI2 has been going on for a few years, and the Federal Reserve is proud to be a leader in promoting global standards that will benefit central banks and the cash supply chain, as a whole. Some people might not think of pioneering technology when you talk about cash, but there is a tremendous amount of innovation happening throughout the supply chain. Through the Federal Reserve System’s NextGen Program and our focus on building the first CDI2-compliant currency-processing machine, the Federal Reserve is playing a leading role in shaping the future of currency processing.”

The European Central Bank’s Director of Banknotes, Ton Roos, commented:

CDI2 opens the market for sensor vendors to provide plug-and-play solutions, which will lead to more competition and innovation within the sensor technology market. There is a continuous need for improving the efficiency of banknote processes, in order to keep banknotes competitive with other means of payment.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “When the central banks responsible for the world’s two most important currencies collaborate on a project, there is a strong likelihood the final product will become the de facto global standard. The CDI2 project is expected to result in a more efficient banknote-processing industry, while helping central banks to get a better view of their currency lifecycles through the provision of more granular data. It was impressive to see how the two institutions worked so well together, using their expertise, to create what is akin to a ‘USB’ for currency processing.”

Communications initiative: Bank of Portugal

The Bank of Portugal has made building a strong connection between its external communication and internal communication a strategic goal in recent years. In the past 12 months, the central bank launched two mobile apps – one for the general public and the other for its employees – marking the final step in a long journey to redesign its digital communication channels. The external app disseminates all the information the central bank releases on a regular basis. The app also provides an important access point for the services the central bank offers to citizens. The internal app, meanwhile, provides information to its employees in a timely and convenient manner. During the pandemic, the communications team updated the app to include targeted Covid-19 features; this included a tool to check how busy the canteen is before heading to lunch and direct access to the central bank’s internal doctor. 

Governor of the Bank of Portugal, Mário Centeno, said:

“This communication initiative award is an important distinction for Banco de Portugal. Although we are very pleased with the recognition, we are also aware that this prize should be an incentive to continue paving this way to being a central bank that is closer to society. This award recognises the recent transformation the Bank has made on the communication channels, with the main goal of becoming closer to its audiences.

“Engagement with people and stakeholders from the civil society is a priority for me. I believe a central bank should be committed to continuously explain its policy and actions to citizens, but also to listen to them. We can only be credible if we ensure that our goals and performance are truly understood and shared by the people we serve. Good communication is instrumental to this achievement!”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The judges were impressed with the two new mobile applications launched in the past year. The strategy to digitise some offerings, such as the loan maps, has extended and reinforced the central bank’s engagement with the public. In many ways, this award recognises the long journey the Bank of Portugal has taken to revamp each of its communication channels. The redesigns of the website and internal intranet, as well as launching a social media campaign, have strengthened the connection between external and internal communications.”

Website of the Year: Central Bank of the Philippines

The governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines has made “bringing the BSP closer to the people” his rallying cry for the staff at the central bank. One of the first things he pushed for was the enhancement of the central bank’s website. Launched at the end of 2020, despite Covid-19 lockdowns. the new website is now live and fit for purpose for the community it serves. At the centre of the redesign are the core functions of the central bank, explained in clear language and illustrated with visual aids. The central bank has also implemented new technology in the form of an AI chatbot and provided the governor with a forum to address members of the public directly.

Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Benjamin E. Diokno, said:

“The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is truly honoured by Central Banking’s recognition of our humble efforts to enhance the BSP website, our window to the world that enables us to effectively communicate and reach out to all our stakeholders.

“The upgrade of www.bsp.gov.ph is integral to our broader initiative to bring the BSP closer to the Filipino people. Thus, in making it a more potent tool for central bank communication, we also optimised its potential for financial empowerment by incorporating in it our chatbot for consumer welfare.

“This recognition further motivates us to continue to reform, innovate and transform the BSP’s operations and services in line with the dynamic and digital ‘new economy’.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The BSP has significantly improved its website, putting members of the public front and centre as part of the website redesign. Not only has the site been made responsive to the growing number of mobile visitors, but a greater emphasis on explaining the central bank’s core functions is also evident. Also noteworthy was the central bank’s eagerness to deploy new types of technology – notably artificial intelligence – to make the user’s journey easier and encourage feedback.”

Transparency Award: National Bank of Georgia

The National Bank of Georgia has increased the transparency of its communications with the public and the financial sector. These efforts have bolstered its monetary policy and helped improved its financial stability work. Its latest efforts, a new financial education website, will help to increase the public’s understanding of finance through the provision of clear and concise educational material. Koba Gvenetadze, governor of the central bank, has made improving the institution’s transparency a priority since being appointed. Under his lead, press conferences have been extended, once-private inflation data has been made public, financial stability reports are now published annually, and Gvenetadze himself has taught in schools around the country.

Koba Gvenetadze, Governor of the National Bank of Georgia, commented:

“The public trust is the main asset of the central bank. The trust comes with the responsibility of being an open and transparent institution in a democratic society. Explaining decisions, communicating openly and continuously with financial market and general public is our prior mission. This is what NBG’s regular, transparent reporting and proactive communication serve, even during the crisis period. The NBG has launched the first financial education portal in Georgia – finedu.gov.ge, an excellent possibility to collect a variety of educational resources created by various stakeholders at one place. We believe transparency and permanent dialogue are key aspects leading us to success.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The launch of the NBG’s new financial education website, FinEdu in 2020 was just the latest in a string of efforts aimed at improving both the quantity and the quality of the information released as part of a strategic goal to improve communications. Transparency is viewed as a vital part in making the NBG’s inflation-targeting regime work more efficiently, as well as promoting financial stability and sound conduct.”

Payments and Market Infrastructure (retail): Central Bank of Hungary

The Covid-19 pandemic reinforced the need for consumers to have the freedom to choose their method of payment. In Hungary, the central bank has placed this mantra at the core of its new instant payment system. Launched in March 2020, the system is open to banks and non-bank payment service providers. It also includes a directory service so consumers can use their mobile phone numbers and email addresses to send payments. The Hungarian central bank’s strict implementation requirements – including a demanding set of protocols, testing schedules and harsh consequences for missed deadlines – has helped support the acceleration towards electronic payments during the pandemic. The system is also operationally unique and has involved outsourcing services to national clearing houses.

Governor of the Central Bank of Hungary, György Matolcsy, said:

“With the introduction of the instant payment system, we have ensured that all domestic bank customers were simultaneously granted access to a service opening up a new dimension in payments, which is quite unique in the world. In my opinion, this is a remarkable achievement, not least because the payment market is networked, so if a solution raising the quality of the service level and creating real added value is to be used widely, it is necessary that the developments related to the given solution are implemented by all the stakeholders, or at least most of the payment service providers.

In Hungary, the regulation related to the mandatory introduction of the service addressed this seemingly significant obstacle easily. It also has to be noted that payment services are increasingly like utilities, in that they are vital to modern life. However, until March 2, 2020, state-of-the-art electronic payment solutions meeting consumers’ legitimate needs could not necessarily be used in all payment situations in Hungary. The instant payment system laid the groundwork for this. It facilitated an electronic alternative in the payment situations where until then only cash could be used.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The system’s launch during the pandemic, which has seen important changes in payments behaviour, is in keeping with a popular mantra among central banks that consumers should have the freedom to choose their method of payment. The Central Bank of Hungary took a firm approach with a previously hesitant banking sector and consumers are already receiving benefits from the central bank’s strategy.” 

 Payments and Market Infrastructure (wholesale): Reserve Bank of New Zealand

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has embraced major payment infrastructure changes during the last few years to reduce risk and future-proof the country’s payment landscape. The launch of the new RTGS system, Exchange Settlement Account System (ESAS) 2.0, and Central Security Depository (CSD), NZClear 2.0, has provided the central bank with a secure platform to look towards a future of round-the-clock banking innovation. For some of its upgrades, the central bank has taken an off-the-shelf approach to reduce complexity present in the bespoke legacy system. While the motivations of de-risking and modernisation were understood well by the industry, the RBNZ also had to persuade institutions to part with years of customisation in legacy systems. The RBNZ set up various communication channels for raising concerns and testing packages, so that everyone experienced the change knowing exactly what was expected.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Adrian Orr, said:

We are honoured to receive this recognition for our payment and settlement systems, launched and completed last year. Personally, I am extremely proud of our team who succeeded in completing this transition. New Zealand is a highly financially digitised economy. These two new systems allow every New Zealander and major institution to go about their daily lives settling their financial obligations with integrity and confidence.

“This project was the most complex technology switch that our Payments and Settlements group had ever undertaken. The completion of the project could not have come at a better time. Just weeks after the launch, Covid hit, putting enormous pressure on the economy and our markets, but we had confidence in the integrity of our newly-launched system, knowing we had prepared our members, our staff, all our processes and technology well to handle unprecedented volumes with ease.

“The implementation was an integral part of our commitment to enhance our payments systems’ resilience and establish a more modern and secure platform for future development.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The new systems have reduced payments system risk and freed up capacity to start work on the future development of payments in New Zealand. The successful launch of these two new systems during a period of increased payment volumes during the pandemic is testament to the diligence of the reserve bank’s migration efforts.”

Asset Manager: BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas Asset Management has reinforced its position as one of the leading institutions serving reserve managers worldwide during the past year. Its official institutions group has supported long-term relationships, offering a suite of services tailored to address both new and old challenges facing central banks. Key among them has been educating central banks about the opportunities offered by environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment, and offering a path to adopt these principles in the management of foreign exchange portfolios.

Sandro Pierri, Global Head Client Group and Deputy CEO at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be the recipient of this year’s Central Banking Asset Manager of the Year Award. This recognition is an excellent example of our dedication to this important client base who we’ve been proud to serve over the past four decades. I believe winning this award during the Covid crisis is all the more relevant, as it is a recognition of how we adapted to remain even closer to our clients during this unprecedented time. Our central bank clients rely on us not only to deliver alpha, but also for advice. We remain committed to them, and look forward to growing these relationships while providing our clients with long-term sustainable returns.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The judges were impressed with BNP Paribas’s long-term focus on official institution clients, strong wins and expertise in mortgage-backed securities, consistent ability to deliver key training advice, willingness to meet client reporting requirements and assistance on ESG compliance, which have played an important role in growing business with central banks, even at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Climate Initiative: HSBC

Throughout 2020, HSBC has worked closely with central banks and other official institutions to support the transition towards a greener financial system. Working with the Network for Greening the Financial System, the bank is assisting in the development of new regulatory standards that account for climate change risk. The bank has also harnessed its global footprint to support developments across the world, particularly between Asia and Europe, and played an important role in efforts to tackle one of the main problems hampering green finance: liquidity. One of its key projects – in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – has been Fast-Infra, a common definition on green infrastructure. The bank also worked with the IFC to set up its first green bond investment fund.

Michael Ellam, Global Head of Public Sector at HSBC, commented:

“We are delighted and honoured to receive this award recognising our role in helping central banks and other official institutions address climate change. HSBC is committed to continuing our leading role in this regard, working with regulators, reserve managers and government entities to shape policy formulation, investment strategies and financing solutions.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “HSBC has led a number efforts to facilitate the transition to a greener financial system, including boosting liquidity via its support for green bond issuance in Hong Kong, Egypt and Indonesia. HSBC has also played a noteworthy role in developing standards related to climate risk, particularly through work with the BoE, MAS and NGFS. These efforts to support standards and connect liquidity were highlighted by the Fast-Infra programme developed with the IFC and OECD.”

Innovation in Reserve Management: World Bank Treasury & ANZ Bank

In March 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the World Bank Treasury experienced delays confirming cash deposit transactions with a key counterparty for its proprietary and client portfolios. Understanding the importance of finding a solution quickly, the World Bank Treasury and ANZ Bank agreed to create an automated confirmation message system based on Swift MT320. The system went live in July, resulting in reduced errors and improved operational efficiency and portfolio returns for many of the World Bank Treasury’s central bank clients. It also brought the World Bank Treasury closer to its zero-error performance target.

Paul Snaith, Director of Treasury Operations at the World Bank Treasury, said:
“We are pleased to be able to share the asset management experience that we have gained over decades with central banks and official institution members of the Reserve Advisory & Management Partnership. We focus on safeguarding our assets while earning attractive returns and prudently managing operational risk. This simple but impactful innovation with ANZ is an example of how we are continuously making improvements in our processes, and how technology can help us better serve central banks and other public asset managers. It’s great to see our efforts recognised through this award – and that it’s during Ramp’s 20th anniversary makes it even better!”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The World Bank and ANZ partnered to serve the needs of smaller central banks from emerging economies during the most acute phase of the pandemic by developing a Swift-based messaging app to process these institutions’ cash operations in both a safer and faster manner.”

Climate Portfolio Services: RepRisk

Central banks, sovereign wealth funds and other official-sector asset owners increasingly need to receive early warnings about any risk exposures they may have to companies breaching their ESG standards. RepRisk has emerged as the company of choice. Instead of scoring companies based on their policies, RepRisk focuses on performance and the real impact of a company’s operations on the environment, labour conditions and social responsibility. During the past year, it has helped clients identify companies not complying with environmental criteria set out in their guidelines.

Philipp Aeby, chief executive and co-founder of RepRisk, said:

“RepRisk is honoured to be awarded with Central Banking’s Climate Portfolio Services Award. We proudly provide early warnings on ESG risks to institutions including central banks and sovereign wealth funds, enabling them to monitor their portfolio for issues such as climate change and human rights abuses on a daily basis. AI technology empowers the speed and size of our dataset – currently covering more than 165,000 companies around the world – and our team of highly trained analysts ensures the depth and quality of our data. We are delighted by this recognition from Central Banking: it’s testament to our success, and [we] share in that success with those who utilise our comprehensive dataset on ESG risks.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “RepRisk provides early warnings on ESG risks to major central bank reserve managers and sovereign wealth funds, with asset exclusions made in the past year because of RepRisk’s alerts. The Swiss firm has developed a machine learning tool that screens information related to around 160,000 companies, processing 500,000 documents daily in 20 languages, and reviews signals using a team of more than 90 dedicated analysts.”

Specialised Lending Initiative: Clearstream

Major central banks have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by expanding their unconventional policies, notably asset purchase programmes. In the eurozone, because of its large holdings, the European Central Bank needs to return liquidity to the securities market to make sure it works smoothly. It is an area where Clearstream has become a key partner for institutions including Deutsche Bundesbank, the Bank of Italy and the Bank of Portugal. In addition to ensuring central banks avoid the unintended consequences of maintaining liquidity in the market, Clearstream also aims to offer the best possible returns through access to its Global Liquidity Hub.

Tilman Fechter, Member of the Executive Board, Clearstream Banking, said:

“We are very honoured to receive Central Banking’s Specialised Lending Initiative Award. Clearstream always focuses on offering efficient securities financing services, supporting central banks in providing liquidity and collateral availability to the market. Third-party recognition like this award validates our commitment to supporting central banks with solutions they are looking for.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Over the past 12 months, Clearstream has leveraged its expertise and counterparties to serve a growing base of central banks, assisting eurozone national central banks, while also securing mandates from central banks in both the Asian and Americas regions.”

 Global Markets: BNP Paribas

The Covid-19 pandemic triggered major turbulence in global markets, raising the importance of steadfast counterparties for central banks worldwide. BNP Paribas is one such firm, having stepped in to support its central bank clients even in the roughest of trading conditions. The bank has been a leader in green bond issuance and is working on innovative projects to support central bank reserve managers with gold, fixed income, FX and more.

Laurent Leveque, global head of official institutions coverage at BNP Paribas said:

“We are immensely proud to have won Central Banking’s prestigious Global Markets Award for the first time. This has been the result of our collective efforts, building strong working partnerships with central bank clients over the past 15 years. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated teams we have been able to stay close to our clients and their evolving needs, supporting them even during the most difficult of times. We are delighted by this accolade, which recognises our market-leading credentials.”  

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The past year has been intensely challenging for global markets, but BNP Paribas demonstrated it remained a trusted partner to central banks. The judges noted the bank’s dedicated team has been building relationships with central bank clients for 15 years, and it stood by the community throughout the Covid-19 market turbulence. From gold to fixed income, and from securities lending to green finance, BNP Paribas has demonstrated its credentials as a market leader worldwide.”

Advisory Services: Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman has built a particularly strong reputation for its expertise in financial risk management and governance, demonstrating an ability to address issues both from the top down and the bottom up – with the firm being notably strong in the supervisory area. Oliver Wyman has accrued an impressive global client base among the central banking community, including its work on projects ranging from supervisory budgeting and the review of agile working at major European central banks through to the evaluation of designs for central bank digital currencies and the analysis of financial ecosystems.

Anshu Vats, Managing Partner, Public Sector and Policy at Oliver Wyman, said:

“It is a great honour to have our work for central banks recognised by this distinct award. Oliver Wyman is constantly pushing our thought leadership for the central bank agenda to serve our clients with new, thought-provoking and timely content as they respond to challenges and trends. Therefore, it is not surprising that OW is on the forefront of critical topics such as payments, CBDC, green central banking and supporting central banks to navigate the challenging economic and financial environment. We very much look forward to continuing engaging with our clients on these.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Oliver Wyman has built a particularly strong reputation for its expertise in financial risk management and governance, with the supervisory area being a key strength. The judges were also impressed by Oliver Wyman’s global client base among the central banking community. Projects have spanned a wide range of topics, from budget analysis to advice on agile working, designing central bank digital currency and mapping the changes in financial ecosystems in emerging markets.” 

Currency Services Provider: Crane Currency

Reports that banknotes could increase the spread of Covid-19 resulted in widespread concern in many countries last year. As a result, central banks sought assistance from their banknote service providers on how best to approach this communication challenge. Over the past year, Crane has provided clear communication as well as support to countries where cash demand increased significantly. Contingency plans were enacted, with Crane increasing safety stocks of critical supplies, to ensure the company was not only able to meet existing commitments, but also respond to new orders from central banks needing new stocks of cash.

President of Crane Currency, Sam Keayes, said:

“Crane Currency is delighted to receive Central Banking’s ‘Currency Services Provider’ Award once again. This award is valued by Crane Currency because it reflects the satisfaction of our central bank customers that we are honoured and privileged to serve. We deeply appreciate their partnership and this recognition. As Central Banking has reported, Covid-19 has presented extraordinary challenges for central banks and for the currency industry in 2020. Crane Currency’s excellence in supporting exceptional demands from our customers around the world, without disruption, was only possible because of the dedication of Crane Currency associates who every day look for opportunities to improve further our performance, so that we always exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Crane Currency drew high praise for its support of central bank clients, especially in relation to its Covid-19 contingency plans. In particular, it was able to increase note supply to jurisdictions that saw significant levels of banknote hoarding. Its important research and development work also continued relatively unimpeded by the pandemic, with Crane’s micro-optic investments expected to pay off by helping to limit counterfeiting volumes in the future.”

Currency Services Initiative: CCL Secure’s Recycling Program

Climate change and its associated risks are now a primary area of focus for many central banks, which are striving to reduce the carbon footprints of the financial sector. Cash management is one area in which the industry is taking the lead. CCL Secure has made a concerted effort over the past few years to not only reduce its environmental impact but also assist central bank clients in recycling their banknotes. Around the globe, CCL’s recycling programme has made central banks’ cash management strategies more sustainable, resulting in huge quantities of banknotes being turned into raw materials. Its commitment to the programme is evident in its new recycling plant in Mexico, which will be responsible for recycling banknotes across the entire Latin American region. CCL has also reviewed how it can make its own operations more sustainable. For example, at its UK site, the firm has implemented new technology to capture emissions released into the air during the polymer production process.

Neil Sanders, Vice-president and Managing Director of CCL Secure commented:

“Naturally, we’re delighted to have received this prestigious award. It’s recognition of a lot of hard work – over many years – that has gone into turning our promises into reality. For us, our commitment to sustainability runs through the entire company and will continue to be a major focus for us, covering our entire supply chain and production process. Whether it’s enabling our customers to recycle or enhancing our own processes, as a responsible supplier and employer, our duty is to make sure that what we do minimises our impact on our shared environment. We’re committed to reducing the impact wherever we operate, whether that’s in England, Australia or Mexico.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Ensuring the sustainability of the cash cycle is a core concern for central banks. CCL Secure, with its ongoing recycling programme and new recycling plant in Mexico, is helping its clients get the most out of their polymer banknotes. The judges were impressed to see the firm has made a contentious effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the entire currency lifecycle, as evidenced by changes made at its UK site, among other developments.”

Collateral Management Services: Calypso Technology

In many jurisdictions, collateralised management in the financial system remains a fragmented and unwieldy process, with communications between legacy front- and back-office collateral management systems often being highly cumbersome. In Switzerland, Calypso has helped to develop the new integrated system for the financial market, offering flexibility, standardisation and automation to the Swiss collateral management process. Launched in 2020, the new system – developed with the Swiss National Bank and SIX Swiss Exchange – support 170 participants with a daily turnover of more than $21.9 billion. Since deployment, no repo volumes were lost, with the transition taking place with no major incidents or complaints from market participants. 

Richard Bentley, Chief Product Officer at Calypso, commented:

“Calypso is delighted to receive the Central Banking 2021 Award for the Best Collateral Management Service – particularly given our success in winning the Best Treasury Management last year. Our fully integrated Collateral Management and Repo modules, part of Calypso’s Front to Back capability, is enabling market infrastructure providers as well as central banks to improve their efficiency and fulfil their mandate to providing liquidity to the market, thereby guaranteeing national financial stability.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The judges were impressed with how Calypso has helped to develop the ‘new backbone’ of the Swiss financial market, offering flexibility, standardisation and automation to the Swiss collateral management process. The launch of the new system has also helped the SNB standardise repo transactions, which has enabled the calculation of the Swiss average rate overnight – the replacement to Libor.”

Risk Management Technology: Ion Treasury

Over the past 12 months, Ion Treasury has championed Libor transition services and supported reserve managers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The US firm, which owns Wall Street Systems and Openlink Financial, continued to support central banks with workshops and product enhancements as they progressed with their ‘ibor’ transitions – a core feature was Ion’s Ibor Transition Assessment Service. The EIB, one of the first adopters of alternative risk-free rates, has already integrated seven of Ion’s Ibor-based product enhancements. The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, used Ion’s migration service for its first compounded secure overnight financing rate (SOFR)-linked floating rate note with a four-day suspension period and one-day lookback.

Richard Grossi, CEO, Ion Corporates, said:

We are honoured to receive the Central Banking Award for best Risk Management Technology for our Ibor Transition Assessment Service (ITAS). This solution has proven to help central banks assess the impact of transitioning to the new alternative reference rates within their systems and processes, and provides a framework, tools, and action plans to help ensure compliance by business area.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Ion has initiated a group-level response to the Ibor transition by supporting central banks and official institutions, such as the Bank of Canada and European Investment Bank, with their migration to new reference rates. Its systems also helped central banks to cope with market disruptions during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing some to quickly introduce new tools, such as swaps and lending instruments.”

Treasury Systems Initiative: Refinitiv

Refinitiv’s crucial work in assisting central banks with their liquidity management, an issue that has been at the forefront in the past year, is what sets the firm apart in the market. Refinitiv has an impressive client base among central banks, and its data-driven approach is giving users access to timely market information to guide interventions and help central banks review their liquidity operations from front office to back.

Sachin Somani, Global Director for Central Banks, Refinitiv, said:

“Refinitiv is a trusted partner of more than 150 central banks and regulators around the world. Our data-driven approach is giving central bankers access to timely market information to guide interventions and help central banks review their liquidity operations. Refinitiv central bank solutions are specially designed to meet the demands of constantly evolving financial markets. We are pleased to be recognised for our innovations by Central Banking as the winner of Treasury Systems Initiative.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Refinitiv has played an important role in assisting central banks with their liquidity management – a pressing issue during the past year. Refinitiv has developed an impressive client base, with its data-driven approach offering users access to timely market information to guide interventions while helping them to review their liquidity operations from front office to back.”

Financial Market Infrastructure: Bloomberg

Many advanced-economy central banks were forced deploy instruments used during the global financial crisis to tackle risks associated with Covid-19. So too were emerging- and developing-market economy central banks, but many countries lacked the infrastructure initially to do so. Bloomberg has helped narrow the infrastructure gap, enabling the central banks to provide the necessary liquidity to their less-developed systems. In addition, it has continued to implement other infrastructure commitments; the firm successfully deployed its foreign exchange trading system in Angola, an E-bond service for Norges Bank and its Bmatch platform for the National Bank of Georgia.

Will Oberuch, Global Head of Emerging Markets Trading at Bloomberg, said:

“We are delighted that our efforts to provide central banks with the data and technology they need to conduct open market operations have been recognised by this prestigious award. We look forward to continue to support central banks with flexible and customisable solutions that help them make well-informed investment and policy decisions.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “Bloomberg’s responsive deployment of new liquidity capabilities helped several central banks cope with pandemic market disruptions, despite the obvious logistical challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, which coincided with a mass migration of traders from office to home desktops.”

Payment Services: ACI Worldwide

Over the past few years, ACI Worldwide has emerged as an important provider of real-time digital payments, helping banks and small companies connect to core central bank infrastructure. The firm supports major systems in Europe and Asia; notably 75% of real-time payments in Hungary, and assisted Malaysia’s PayNet platform in hitting its billionth transaction in 2020. The company also assists with higher-value payments. Last year, it teamed up with Thailand’s National Interbank Transaction Management and Exchange to modernise Thailand’s bulk payments-processing system and introduce ISO 20022 to support continued growth.

Jeremy Wilmot, Chief Product Officer at ACI Worldwide, said:

ACI Worldwide is pleased to receive this honour in recognition of the role we play in supporting both central banks and financial institutions to build, launch and operate new, real-time payment infrastructures. Supporting banks, processors, acquirers and merchants to access and leverage new payment platforms is critical to the success of central bank policies, and ACI enables connectivity and value-added services for all participants, as well as robust and innovative solutions for operators.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said: “The judges were impressed with ACI Worldwide’s efforts in assisting central banks in setting up and upgrading their real-time payment networks and their ecosystems. ACI is providing overlay services that are helping banks, merchants and fintechs connect seamlessly to central payment infrastructure, notably in Hungary, Malaysia, Thailand and the US.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Media copies of the citing articles are also available. Please contact: Christopher Jeffery at chris.jeffery@centralbanking.com or + 44 (0) 20 7316 9509; or Daniel Hinge at daniel.hinge@infopro-digital.com or + 44 (0) 20 7316 9054.
  2. Please click the links for the Central Banking Awards 2020, Central Banking Awards 2019, Central Banking Awards 2018, Central Banking Awards 2017, Central Banking Awards 2016, Central Banking Awards 2015 and Central Banking Awards 2014.
  3. Since its foundation in 1990, Central Banking journal has been the only regular, independent publication for and about central banks. It is supported by an Editorial Advisory Board that includes the former governors of many of the world’s leading central banks, as well as Nobel Prize-winning economists.
  4. Central Banking is read by subscribers in more than 140 countries.
  5. Central Banking operates the Central Banking Institute, a membership club for central banks comprising Benchmarking, Insight and Professional Development.

Follow all Central Banking’s award updates online at \#CBawards.

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