Central Banking’s 9th Annual Industry Awards

Central Banking is pleased to announce the winners of its 9th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community

Central Banking’s 9th Annual Industry Awards

March 31, 2022: For immediate release

Central Banking is pleased to announce the winners of its 9th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community. (Follow them on Twitter here.)

  • Central Bank of the Year: Bank of Korea
  • Governor of the Year: Mario Marcel
  • Lifetime Achievement: Stanley Fischer
  • Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building: Peter Nicholl
  • Economics: Wenxin Du
  • Transparency: Czech National Bank
  • Risk Manager: Bank of Portugal
  • Reserve Manager: Central Bank of the UAE
  • Green Initiative – Regulatory: Banque de France and ACPR
  • Green Initiative – Operational: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
  • Payments and Market Infrastructure Development – Retail: Central Bank of Brazil
  • Payments and Market Infrastructure Development – Wholesale: Reserve Bank of India
  • Initiative: Bank of Thailand and MAS’s PromptPay-PayNow link
  • Financial Stability Initiative: ECB’s SSMnet
  • Communications Initiative: Bank of Jamaica
  • Website: Central Bank of Eswatini
  • Currency Manager: Central Bank of Costa Rica
  • Currency Initiative: Central Bank of the Philippines’ Cash Service Alliance
  • Asset Manager: BNP Paribas Asset Management
  • Global Markets: HSBC
  • Advisory Services: Kroll
  • Technology Services: SAP
  • Technology Services – Regulatory: Regnology
  • ESG Portfolio Services: Moody’s
  • Payment Services: CMA
  • Collateral Management Services: Vermeg
  • Specialised Lending Initiative: BNP Paribas Securities Services
  • Risk Management Technology: BlackRock’s Aladdin Risk
  • Currency Services: De La Rue
  • Financial Market Infrastructure Services: SIA

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: Lee Ju-yeol, Mario Marcel, Peter Nicholl, Beverly Hirtle, Jiří Rusnok, Mário Centeno, François Villeroy de Galhau, Timothy Antoine, Roberto Campos Neto, Shaktikanta Das, Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, Sopnendu Mohanty, Andrea Enria, Richard Byles, Majozi V Sithole, Rodrigo Cubero Brealey and Benjamin E Diokno.

Other reactions include those from market leaders, including: Steven Billiet, Michael Ellam, Zoë Newman, Howard Cooper, Joanne Horgan, Peter-Antonius Bramm, Andrea Blackman, Maxim Neshcheret, Badreddine Ouali, Andrew Geggus, Sudhir Nair, Ruth Euling and Mario De Lorenzo.

Central Banks

Central Bank of the Year: Bank of Korea

South Korea’s central bank has undertaken significant efforts during the past several years to maintain sound monetary policy and guard against financial stability risks. In August 2021, its Monetary Policy Board became a something of a pioneer when it decided to raise its policy rate by 25 basis points (and raised its twice subsequently), making Bank of Korea the first developed-world central bank to raise policy rates since the Covid-19 pandemic. Note was also made about the BoK’s commitment to monitor and address vulnerabilities linked to rising asset prices and household debt levels, as well as the central bank’s efforts to address social concerns, move towards greening some of its operations and develop in-depth testing related to the possible launch of a future ‘digital won’.

Lee Ju-yeol, Governor, Bank of Korea, said:

“We would like to thank Central Banking for this honour. 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. But myriad challenges still remain, and we will continue to stay dedicated and committed to the tasks before us.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The Bank of Korea’s move to raise interest rates in August 2021 came at the same time as most other developed-economy central banks were still describing rising prices and inflation as ‘transitory’. The rate increase also sent a signal to increasingly indebted citizens that the days of easy money would not go on indefinitely. With the benefit of hindsight, the decision by Governor Lee and the Monetary Policy Board appears to be particularly prescient.”

Governor of the Year: Mario Marcel

Mario Marcel served as the governor of the Central Bank of Chile for five years from late 2016 to 2021. Since late 2019, the Chilean peso has come under significant pressure three times. Marcel not only led the Central Bank of Chile to address the immediate threats at hand, but subsequently ramped up foreign exchange levels and improved multilateral and bilateral funding mechanisms, while also improving disclosure to the public. Marcel has consistently voiced concerns about the risks of several rounds of pension drawdowns by the Chilean authorities, and adjusted central bank policy to mitigate some of the negative effects. He led relatively early moves to tighten monetary and financial policy conditions in 2021, as the Chilean economy recovered after the initial shocks linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the inflation outlook remains challenging (as in other parts of the world), the Central Bank of Chile’s strong reputation for serving the interests of Chileans has undoubtedly been further enhanced by Marcel’s sound leadership.

Mario Marcel, former Governor of the Central Bank of Chile (now Finance Minister for Chile), said:

“I am very honoured to receive this recognition from Central Banking. 2021 was an incredibly challenging year to us in Chile: A second year into the Covid-19 pandemic, political tensions after the social unrest of end-2019, a string of elections and the drafting of a new Constitution increased uncertainty on top of a global environment that was far from normal. Despite all these factors, the Chilean economy made a strong recovery, and the central bank began a fast withdrawal of its expansionary stance as inflationary pressures began to mount. In this move, we reacted quickly to new developments in a similar way to what we have done during the last two-and-a-half years. As I have moved from the central bank to the Ministry of Finance recently, I would like to dedicate this award to the staff and the board of the Central Bank of Chile, who applied all their experience, knowledge and skills to contain the impact of a historic crisis on the Chilean people.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Mario Marcel has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills during the past 30 months. He not only led the Central Bank of Chile to address the immediate threats at hand, but also ramped up buffers and improved transparency.”

Lifetime Achievement: Stanley Fischer

Stanley Fischer has had a fundamental impact on the world of central banking over the past half-century, in at least three distinct areas: as a world-leading economist and teacher; as a critical adviser to central banks and governments; and as a top-level, practising central banker. His 1977 research offered a synthesis between monetarist and Keynesian theories. His time as chief economist of the World Bank and as first managing director of the International Monetary Fund allowed him to offer policy advice to address real-world problems; the fund had to deal with a particularly challenging set of crises, including the Asian financial crisis, while Fischer was in office. This was followed by a period of implementing the policies Fischer had previously advocated as a highly successful governor of the Bank of Israel and his time as vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve System.

Stanley Fischer, Vice-chair, Federal Reserve (2014-2017); Governor, Bank of Israel (2005-2013); First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (1994-2001)

“I am deeply honoured and grateful to receive Central Banking’s Lifetime Achievement Award. To be recognised by an organisation that is itself so well respected and knowledgeable is especially meaningful for me.

“The lifetime nature of this award seems particularly apt as I reflect on my life and career. During my childhood in southern Africa, I never could have imagined that my professional path would develop as it has. But looking back now, I can see that my experiences in those early years informed my approach to both academic economics and policy-making. As an academic for several decades, then during my time at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, I was able to enrich that perspective with the skills and frameworks that prepared me for my roles at the Bank of Israel and United States Federal Reserve. I am particularly proud to have learned so much not just from my own professors, mentors and colleagues, but also from many talented students who went on to make major contributions as policy-makers and public servants.

“I have also had the good fortune to recognise that our understanding of global finance and economics is a work in progress. One need only look at the past decade or so to be reminded that the practice of central banking is evolving. And it must continue to do so in the years to come, if we are to successfully serve the people whose lives benefit or suffer from the actions of policy-makers. That is what makes the job of a central banker challenging, important and rewarding. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve had and to contribute to the economic growth of countries that have mattered so much to me.”

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 trading 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, all mark a lifetime of exemplary achievement, service and purpose.”

Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building: Peter Nicholl

From 1992 to 1995, the different communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) fought a war that took tens of thousands of lives. The peace treaty that ended the war specified that the first central bank governor must be a foreigner. Peter Nicholl, a former Reserve Bank of New Zealand deputy governor, became the governor less than two years after the war ended. He led an institution with few financial resources and a small staff. It operated in a damaged country lacking trust in institutions or between communities, with four currencies in use, and a small, fragmented financial sector. Nicholl built up a team that could handle the tasks of a modern central bank. The central bank managed inflation with few of the tools available to many others. Nicholl oversaw the introduction of a new currency, and helped to create a banking sector on which citizens could rely. At the end of his scheduled term, he agreed to stay on for two more years in order to hand over to his Bosnian deputy.

Peter Nicholl, former Governor, Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, said:

“I am very honoured to be chosen by the Central Banking Awards Committee as the winner of your Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building Award. I understand that the committee paid particular attention to my work as Governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CBBH). My wife and I look back on the 10 years that we lived and worked in BiH with fondness and pleasure. I was told before we went there in 1997 that it would be the most stressful and frustrating thing I had ever done, but that it would also be the most interesting and satisfying thing I had ever done. Those words proved to be true. The first two or three years were very stressful and frustrating. But the work was never dull, and as I realised the strengths of the local staff of the CBBH and their willingness and ability to learn and improve, the work became very satisfying and rewarding. The citizens of BiH also gained confidence in the CBBH and its new currency, the KM. That was also very satisfying, and gave the CBBH a degree of political protection. I want to thank the CBBH board members, Vice-governors and staff I worked with for their strong support during my term as Governor of the CBBH. The award is also a tribute to them, as successful capacity building is a two-way process. It would not have happened in the CBBH without their willingness to listen to what I said and proposed, to successfully implement the proposals – and, in many cases, to improve upon them.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Peter Nicholl overcame significant political obstacles to grow the central bank’s balance sheet, tame inflation, rebuild the banking sector and introduce a new currency. But perhaps his most important achievement was to help establish an institution that won trust across the country’s sectarian political divides.”

Economics: Wenxin Du

Wenxin Du’s work explores critical relationships in the global financial system. In particular, her research into deviations from covered interest parity (CIP) highlights how what was once a relatively obscure theory has moved into centre stage for policy-makers. CIP deviations impact funding costs worldwide and, in times of stress, can flare into serious instability.

Beverly Hirtle, Director of Research and Head of the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 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.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Wenxin Du has built up an impressive body of work, and continues to extend this path-breaking research agenda in new directions.”

Transparency: Czech National Bank

The Czech National Bank took its already impressive commitments to transparency to a new level during the past year, after it started publishing its flagship Monetary policy report – the result of a four-year project to replace and repurpose the 23-year-old Inflation report. The launch of the report builds on another bold effort to promote transparency at the central bank, when the CNB started to attribute comments about policy positions directly to individual members of the Bank Board as well as its decision to publish core details about its main forecasting model, G3+.

Jiří Rusnok, Governor, Czech National Bank, said:

“The Czech National Bank has always been well aware that the high degree of independence it enjoys must go hand in hand with a high degree of accountability to the public. Openness and transparency are the key prerequisite for this not to be just an empty phrase. It is, therefore, a great honour for us to receive this year’s Transparency Award in recognition of our efforts. The CNB has always pursued best practices, especially in the area of monetary-policy transparency, and will continue to do so in the future. The planned opening of a new Visitor Centre at the CNB’s headquarters this May demonstrates our ongoing commitment to be called to account for fulfilling our objectives and to enhance the public’s understanding of what the central bank does.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The CNB’s commitment to transparency – including a longstanding focus to communicate with stakeholders in simple language via traditional and social media channels – is world-leading, and appeared to help it to maintain public trust when the central bank had to stand its ground against political interference during parliamentary elections late last year.”

Risk Manager: Bank of Portugal

Over a sustained period, the Bank of Portugal has developed a risk framework, covering strategic risks, as well as financial and non-financial risks, and established an effective risk management committee. Over the last year, attention was drawn to how the framework was able to undertake important risk-related exercises, such as an asset management review.

Mário Centeno, Governor, Bank of Portugal, said:

“Many of us had to go through a severe financial crisis to value the importance of risk management. At Banco de Portugal, we have learnt our lesson, and took good advantage of it. I am really proud of this prestigious award, which reflects a new attitude towards risk management. In particular, I am thankful for the work of our risk management team, who should feel even more motivated to carry on the good work.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Bank of Portugal and its risk chief, Gabriel Andrade, have worked tirelessly to embed a risk management culture throughout the central bank. Risk management staff members are now embedded in all departments, which proved especially valuable when making informed decisions during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Reserve Manager: Central Bank of the UAE

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates successfully implemented 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.

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The Central Bank of the UAE has made a clear assessment of potential claims on foreign exchange reserves arising from balance-of-payment disturbance, stresses in the domestic banking system and so on. This clarity on its liquidity requirements has given the central bank confidence to diversify some assets to enhance long-term returns.”

Green Initiative – Regulatory: Banque de France and ACPR

The Banque de France and the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) engaged in major efforts to investigate climate change-related risks faced by financial institutions, particularly through the development of new stress tests to measure individual firms’ exposure. The stress tests were widely implemented, with the BdF and ACPR’s work giving participating firms an unprecedentedly detailed understanding of their climate risks. This is likely to help drive change in France’s financial sector. Even more broadly, it has given other regulators a valuable example of how to approach the difficult problem of gauging individual firms’ exposure to climate risk.

François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of Banque de France and Chair of the ACPR, said:

“I am very proud for the ACPR and Banque de France to have received this award, which fully recognises their innovative approach and modelling skills to tackle the intellectual and practical challenges associated with climate stress-testing. The ACPR took a decisive step forward with the very first bottom-up climate-related stress tests, in which a large number of major French banks and insurance companies took part on a voluntary basis. I would also like to take this opportunity to [highlight] that this exercise would not have been feasible without the pivotal role played by the NGFS, the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, whose global secretariat is held by the Banque de France, and its detailed climate change scenarios.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The considerable efforts made to overcome complicated intellectual and practical challenges – not least the combination of models from multiple sources to produce a new stress-test methodology – made the project stand out. It represents an important benchmark that can be harnessed by other public institutions charged with oversight of the financial sector.”

Green Initiative – Operational: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank resolved to undertake several projects to make its own operations entirely carbon-neutral by the end of 2022. This included installing an array of solar photovoltaic panels above the main car park to establish a source of renewable energy for the ECCB’s headquarters. The panels were put in place despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic – and the ECCB calculates its use of solar panels cut CO2 emissions by 2,348 tonnes between December 2019 and mid-January 2022.

Timothy Antoine, Governor, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, said:

“The ECCB, as a monetary union of eight small island developing states, is thrilled to receive the Green Initiative Award (Operational) by Central Banking for the greening of the ECCB campus. When we declared our ambition to have our campus become carbon-neutral by 2022, we were motivated by the following key objectives: 1) reduce carbon emissions; 2) deliver a demonstration project for our member countries; 3) strengthen our moral authority to demand more ambitious climate action from large emitters; and 4) save foreign exchange on oil imports and lower our operating costs.

“Pandemic notwithstanding, we have met these objectives, and are on track to attain carbon neutrality on our campus at the end of this year. I thank Central Banking for this prestigious award, a fitting recognition for our work. As a small but leading central bank, this award encourages us to press forward with our climate resilience agenda, and we urge faster climate action by all, but especially [by] large emitters.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The ECCB has ably demonstrated how a central bank can act as a leader and contribute to addressing climate change risk by reforming its own practices.”

Payments and Market Infrastructure Development – Retail: Central Bank of Brazil

The introduction of Pix by the Central Bank of Brazil has radically improved payments infrastructure in the country, reduced frictions related to payments use and facilitated financial inclusion. Since its launch, more than 100 million users have signed up to use Pix, which handles more than 1 billion transactions per month. Pix stands out as one of the fastest-adopted payment methods in the world.

Roberto Campos Neto, Governor, Central Bank of Brazil, said:

“Pix is one of the most significant transformations in the Brazilian payments system in the last two decades. In a period of three years, we built a multipurpose, innovative, safe, low-cost and easy-to-use payment instrument. Pix has allowed around 100 million Brazilians to make more than 1.3 billion transfers and payments per month, in addition to facilitating the entry of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs into the digital economy. The participation of the regulator, providing public goods (settlement infrastructure and operating rules) was of primary importance to allow network gains to be incorporated, and for institutions of different sizes and profiles to compete on a level playing field with each other.

“It is an honour for the Central Bank of Brazil to receive this award, which is one more [piece of] evidence of the general recognition of the dedication and competence of our technical teams.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The Central Bank of Brazil has created a model payment system, not just for Brazil, but also as a benchmark for the Latin American region and further afield.”

Payments and Market Infrastructure Development – Wholesale: The Reserve Bank of India

The RBI made novel efforts in creating a 24/7 RTGS system during the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably, this included difficult work that needed to take place with 255 staff placed within a ‘bio-bubble’. The enhanced payments service looks set to assist India’s efforts to become a financial hub while enabling greater payments innovation at lower cost, both domestically and on an international basis.

Shaktikanta Das, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, said:

“It is an honour for the Reserve Bank of India to be named as the winner of Central Banking’s Payment and Market Infrastructure – Wholesale Award 2022. I would like to thank Central Banking for this recognition. The RTGS 24x7 initiative of the RBI has brought about a major transformation in India’s Payment and Settlement System. I would like to place on record my appreciation to the entire RBI team and the service providers for their commitment and depiction in achieving this milestone despite the constraints posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Uninterrupted adoption of the new RTGS service and significant increase in transactions volumes and values marked an incredibly successful project under difficult circumstances.”

Initiative: Bank of Thailand/MAS’s PromptPay-PayNow link

The PromptPay-PayNow link appears to be the first time that two fast payment systems have connected to offer simplified, cross-border remittances to citizens. It marks a significant advancement in cross-border payments, due to the simplicity, speed, transparency, security and cost-effectiveness of the service offered. In so doing, it also represents an important step in redressing the problem of high fees charged for traditional cross-border remittances – costs that often disproportionately hit the least affluent.

Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, Assistant Governor of the Payment Systems Policy and Financial Technology Group, Bank of Thailand, said:

“On behalf of the Bank of Thailand, it is a true honour to receive this year’s Central Banking Initiative of the Year Award with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. We are very proud of PromptPay-PayNow, the world’s first real-time cross-border fund transfer linkage. PromptPay-PayNow has brought about tangible benefits to people, especially migrant workers, expats, students and small businesses in both countries. Since its launch in April 2021, its usage has been increasing remarkably, due to its seamless user experience, transaction speed, safe service and lower transaction costs.

“This project also signifies the strong co-operation between Thailand and Singapore. Let me thank our colleagues at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as well as those in the banking associations, commercial banks and system operators of both countries, who have made this initiative possible. The Bank of Thailand is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. We will continue to promote innovations in cross-border payments to strengthen economic integration and financial inclusion for the sustained wellbeing of the country and the region.”

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore, said:

“The PayNow-PromptPay linkage demonstrates how integration of our existing payment infrastructures and banking systems can unlock real-time seamless remittances, empowering users to make cross-border payments simply, conveniently and at low cost. 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 and drive multi-participant scalability. In time, we see the evolved PN-PP model directly and fully addressing the challenge statements laid out by the G20, Financial Stability Board, and other international standard-setting bodies on facilitating faster, cheaper, more inclusive and more transparent cross-border payment arrangements.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The link represents a significant step towards transparent, fast, convenient, secure and fairly priced payments the region. Wider efforts by both the BoT and MAS in supporting person-to-merchant cross-border payments are also being felt.”

Financial Stability Initiative: ECB’s SSMnet

The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) took a major step forward in 2021 to foster cohesion among more than 7,000 staff members working at the European Central Bank and national supervisory authorities in 21 different countries. SSMnet represents a comprehensive digital platform, developed in-house, where staff members can interact with each other and follow key projects, while also offering access to training and resources on important supervisory topics and country-specific issues.

Andrea Enria, chair of the supervisory board of the European Central Bank, said:

“We are very proud of the recognition gained from this award. For the SSM, SSMnet is a decisive step forward to share, in one single place, expertise and knowledge among already more than 5,000 supervisors from 21 countries. This amazing platform also contributes to a stronger integration of the supervisory authority members of the SSM. With SSMnet, we enhance our effectiveness and efficiency by sharing the right information at the right time, and by allowing supervisors to better connect with each other.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

SSMnet looks set to play an important role in providing supervisors across Europe with the wide set of tools they need to help to preserve financial stability. So far, around 5,000 members have accessed the platform, which receives around 1,000 unique visits a day.”

Communications Initiative: Bank of Jamaica

The Bank of Jamaica’s ‘Centrally Speaking’ chat show (currently running in a 20- to 30-minute format) covers the central bank and related economic, financial and regulatory issues. It is both an innovation for central banking practices and another step in the long human tradition of education and storytelling.

Richard Byles, Governor of Bank of Jamaica, said:

“We are honoured to have been chosen as the winner of Central Banking’s Communications Initiative Award. This award comes despite the challenges of Covid-19, which has resulted in most of our staff working from home. Thanks to the team at Bank of Jamaica, where a cross-section of our employees work to ensure that we meet the relevant production deadlines weekly. Centrally Speaking is the Bank’s flagship television production that opens up the conversation around important matters of economics and finance that have an impact on the people of Jamaica. This programme, which is entering its fourth season, will continue to grow, as we seek new and innovative ways to reach a broad cross-section of viewers, and seek to explain the concept of inflation targeting. The anticipation is that this is one of several steps on the path that will take Bank of Jamaica even closer to achieving our vision of becoming the world’s leading central bank, contributing to the development of Jamaica.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Centrally Speaking demonstrated ambitious scale, wide reach and strong integration with the central bank’s programme of monetary policy communications.”

Website: Central Bank of Eswatini

Eswatini sought to improve its outdated website for the benefit of its 1.2 million citizens. The significant improvements in security and communication regarding Eswatini’s new website, as well as the speed of the project’s implementation, were made more difficult and more impressive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Majozi V Sithole, Governor, Central Bank of Eswatini, said:

“I am deeply honoured to accept, on behalf of the Central Bank of Eswatini, this prestigious Central Banking Award. The CBE conveys its appreciation for recognising our efforts in central bank communication. The Bank has come a long way in ensuring that the mandate is understood by the people that we serve, and that the wall of central bank secrecy is unveiled. The website is a symbolic balance of our rich culture and technology advancements that cater to the needs of our ever-evolving stakeholders, something that is unique and that we will maintain into the future.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The style and symbolism of the Central Bank of Eswatini’s new website strikes to the heart of the national character. The website offers improved search and usability that will appeal to the average citizen of Eswatini.”

Currency Manager: Central Bank of Costa Rica

The Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) introduced an entirely new set of polymer banknotes as well as a new series of coins during the period under review. The polymer notes have remarkable aesthetic qualities, drawing on inspiration from Costa Rica’s unique biosphere. At a practical level, the new currency represents a step change in anti-counterfeiting protection.

Rodrigo Cubero Brealey, President, Central Bank of Costa Rica, said:

“This recognition from Central Banking crowns the efforts initiated by the BCCR five years ago to offer Costa Rican society a safer and more efficient means of payment in cash. The new banknote series maintains differentiated sizes and colours, and motifs alluding to our biodiversity. Furthermore, [the] new banknotes are more durable, more secure against counterfeiting, of lower relative cost, operable for commercial banking, and environmentally sustainable, as its material can be recycled. This is of fundamental importance to the BCCR and the country.

“The results have been very satisfactory. For example, since the circulation of the new banknote series in polymer, the BCCR has not received any reports of counterfeiting.

“Regarding the new coin series, in addition to maintaining differentiated sizes, its material is recyclable, and its design offers more comfortable dimensions for the user, and introduces elements of our biodiversity, culture and history. Thus, the first issue of the new 500-colón coin commemorates the bicentennial of our independence.

“This recognition reinforces the BCCR’s commitment to continue seeking a payments system, whether it be physical or electronic, that provides absolute confidence and security to citizens, businesses and financial entities.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The Central Bank of Costa Rica has radically improved its cash cycle. With the recently introduced notes being more durable and easily recycled, the new money also reduces the central bank’s environmental impact.”

Currency Initiative: Central Bank of the Philippines’ Cash Service Alliance

The Cash Service Alliance, established by the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP), is a novel online cash management mechanism that facilitates the routing of cash between banks in the Philippines without the need to draw directly on BSP stores. The CSA technology was built by the BSP’s own technology and digital office in partnership with the financial sector. By optimising cash usage in the country, less strain was placed on supply directly from the BSP.

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

“The BSP is committed to implementing initiatives that are responsive to the needs of the Filipino people. The Cash Service Alliance (CSA) – an initiative of the BSP together with domestic banks – has helped ensure that cash servicing operations in the country remain unhampered despite disruptions in mobility and logistics brought about by the pandemic. During times of crisis, keeping the financial system sound and stable by servicing the requirements of the public is indispensable. The CSA provides an innovative cash management system that is future-proof and resilient to the changing times.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Since the CSA began operating in October 2020, it has come to provide a significant proportion of cash needs, first in Greater Manila and now nationwide, reducing costs and helping the financial sector serve the public good while coping with logistical challenges presented by the pandemic.”

Partners and Service Providers

Asset Manager: BNP Paribas Asset Management

BNP Paribas Asset Management has played an important role in helping reserve managers to diversify their portfolios, boost returns and adopt environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies during the pandemic crisis. An example included performing a portfolio-optimisation project with a southern European central bank to better understand the options at its disposal to boost returns, which resulted in it establishing its first exchange-traded fund (ETF) SRI-compliant mandate. This supported the central bank’s efforts to diversify its reserves by adding exposures to equities and corporate bonds. BNP Paribas also continued to help central banks to understand investment risks in other core areas, including how regulatory and policy changes, such as mortgage relief and Fed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchases, were affecting the US MBS market.

Steven Billiet, Head of Global Client Group, BNP Paribas Asset Management, said:

“We are honoured to be recognised by Central Banking as the Asset Manager of the Year for the second straight year! Winning this award exemplifies the dedication of BNPP AM’s Global Client Group to this prestigious client base who we’ve been honoured to serve for almost 50 years. This distinguished win is also attributed to our efforts as a global leader in sustainable investing. In a time when central bank clients are looking at how to integrate ESG or invest in sustainability-related strategies, it is with pride that we partner with them on this journey.”

Johanna Lasker, CEO, North America and Global Head of Official Institutions, BNP Paribas Asset Management, said:

“We are delighted to have been selected as Asset Manager of the Year for the second year in a row by Central Banking. Having personally worked with this important client base for almost 20 years, I’m incredibly proud of all the relationships we’ve built with each and every one of these organisations who are so critical to the countries they serve. Our objective is to achieve long-term sustainable returns for our clients, but also to provide education, thought leadership, dedicated seminars and customised trainings that can help them achieve their goals and further their success.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Central banks stressed BNP Paribas Asset Management’s willingness to listen to their concerns and goals, and generously making available its know-how to help them to make informed decisions as they embark on new projects.”

Global Markets: HSBC

HSBC was already a well-known and trusted counterparty to central banks. The bank further developed its service offerings to reserve managers in the year under review. One key trend in 2021 was the increasing use of ETFs by central banks, and clients commented that HSBC was able to deliver an impressive combination of speed and pricing in accessing new portfolios. The bank continued with successes in green bond issuance, and arranging important private placements and taps for central bank clients.

Michael Ellam, co-head of the Institutional Client Group and Global Head of the Public Sector at HSBC, said:

“We are delighted and honoured to receive Central Banking’s Global Markets Award, recognising our role helping reserve managers address their most pertinent challenges and opportunities. In particular, we would highlight our partnership with central banks globally on diversification strategies in the low-yield environment, allocations to new markets in Asia, sustainable investments and digital solutions.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

HSBC is a trusted, long-term partner to official institutions. It enjoyed continuing success in helping central bank clients enter new markets and instruments, as illustrated by its work with a Middle Eastern institution. HSBC also carried out pioneering work on technology, including major CBDC pilots, which could revolutionise markets activities moving forwards.”

Advisory Services: Kroll

Kroll has established itself as a uniquely positioned provider of advisory services to central banks, able to deliver both on financial investigations and governance-related consulting. Kroll deployed its expertise investigating the ‘missing banknote’ saga in Liberia, and it is now engaged in ongoing work with the central bank to improve its cash operations. Senior officials at the Central Bank of Liberia described Kroll’s performance as “excellent”, saying its work had led to significant improvements in currency management.

Zoë Newman, Regional Managing Director of Emea and Global Co-head of Kroll’s Financial Investigations practice, said:

“We are delighted that our work with central banks is being recognised with this award. As a specialist adviser to central banks facing critical issues relating to economic crime and financial losses in their system, we have been fortunate over recent years to be at the forefront of some of the most complex and systemic issues they face, advising on solutions through forensic audit, investigation and asset recovery, capacity building, and governance and control reviews.”

Howard Cooper, Managing Director and Global Co-head of Kroll’s Financial Investigations practice, said:

“As economies emerge from the pandemic, we are seeing a return to normal, with a renewed focus by centrals banks on the identification, mitigation and rooting out of financial crime and reputational risks represented by the regulated entities under their supervision. We look forward to continuing our work in this field, combining our investigative specialism and experience with the latest technological capabilities to provide practical support to central banks across the globe.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Kroll’s ultimate success in its work with the Central Bank of Liberia has drawn a line under the ‘currency saga’ that afflicted the West African nation. It is part of an impressive portfolio that includes work in Cyprus, Moldova, Mongolia and Ukraine.”

Technology Services – Regulatory: Regnology

Formed in 2021 from the merger of Vizor Software and BearingPoint Software Solutions’ regulatory technology business, Regnology has continued to strengthen its position as a trusted partner to central banks and regulators in the past year, as well as continuing to innovate. Clients commented that they particularly valued the self-service aspects of the platform, as well as the time and cost savings from ‘regulation as a service’.

Joanne Horgan, SupTech Product Director, Regnology, said:

“Today, our clients include over 50 central banks, regulators and tax authorities around the world. Over the past year, we have won more high-profile clients and successfully implemented SupTech solutions for central banks across Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Being recognised for our achievements by Central Banking unmistakably demonstrates that we make a real difference with our solutions. We look forward to shaping the future together with regulators and industry experts.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Regnology has continued to innovate, securing major new contracts with central banks and regulators during the review period. Its regtech and suptech platforms look set to evolve further in the years ahead to continue to meet central banks’ ever-greater needs to handle and manage data.”

Technology services: SAP

SAP demonstrated its strengths as a partner to the Saudi Central Bank (Sama) across critical systems upgrades in 2021. The complex implementation was delivered in a successful ‘big bang’, with further enhancements planned for the coming months. The client said it felt reassured by the quality of SAP’s support and the strength of the strategic partnership.

Peter-Antonius Bramm, Global Head of Central Banks, 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.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Work by SAP alongside Sama was impressive in terms of both the scale and ambition of the project, which delivered a new core banking system and upgraded currency management.”

ESG Portfolio Services: Moody’s

Moody’s ESG Solutions has harnessed its expertise measuring ESG performance, credit impact and risk valuation to support central banks and other institutions in their efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of their portfolios. These capabilities allowed Moody’s to upgrade the risk profile of the reserves portfolio of a eurozone central bank. Moody’s ESG Solutions also developed pilot data on biodiversity risk for another eurozone central bank. Beyond reserve management, the company has worked alongside central banks in their supervisory efforts to better track banks’ climate change risk exposures.

Andrea Blackman, Managing Director and Global Head, Moody’s ESG Solutions, said:

“At Moody’s, we are focused on bringing clarity and integrity to ESG performance measurement. We appreciate that the ESG domain is on a journey – one that challenges us all. And we want to help create the discipline and transparency that’s so needed to support the shift to a more resilient and sustainable future.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Moody’s has made great strides to help central banks carry out innovative risk assessments to ensure they can be at the forefront of sustainable investment practices. Its data is also facilitating supervisors’ work in assessing climate risks in the financial sector.”

Payment Services: CMA

Two major projects marked CMA’s payment services triumph in 2021. The Buna payment system, linking up banks and central banks in the Arab world and major trading partners, has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency of cross-border payments. The company also demonstrated its strength in delivering critical central banking infrastructure in 2021 with the ‘big-bang’ go-live of the Central Bank of the Philippines’ ISO 20022-compatible RTGS system.

Maxim Neshcheret, Director for Asia-Pacific, CMA, said:

“With Buna, we are trying to make payments faster because we are interconnecting real-time payment systems. It is cheaper because we eliminate extra steps. We are trying to make access to cross-border payments inclusive.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

CMA’s big-bang implementation approach in the Philippines is now being considered as an implementation model by other central banks.”

Collateral Management Services: Vermeg

Building on a strong foundation of major central bank clients, Vermeg demonstrated impressive scale and complexity in handling projects, including ongoing work in the eurozone ECMS project, and the addition of another G7 central bank client to its roster. Clients commended the company’s depth of knowledge, strong track record and high-quality support.

Badreddine Ouali, Co-chief Executive Officer, Vermeg, said:

“We are pleased to receive this award confirming our position as the leading vendor and trusted partner for central banks’ collateral operations. Continuous investment in and enhancement of our solutions enables further extension of the Vermeg global footprint within the Central Bank community in the collateral management and post-trade processing area.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Vermeg has demonstrated impressive credentials as a provider of critical systems that ensure central banks can manage collateral effectively. Most recently, it secured another G7 central bank as a core client. The worked carried out by Vermeg helps the management of liquidity in the financial system and facilitates the implementation of monetary policy.”

Specialised Lending Initiative: BNP Paribas Securities Services

BNP Paribas Securities Services has boosted its set of services for central banks over the past year. This included the launch of a new service to assist clients in complying with the regulatory responsibilities derived from the Securities Financing Transactions Reporting (SFTR) regulation and enhanced lending performance, increasing the set of well-rated borrowers to which it offers its clients’ assets. BNPPSS attempted to ease the operational burden on its clients by introducing a new pledge collateral offering, as well as boosting its pay-to-hold functionality. BNPPSS has also increased its technology capabilities acquiring HQLAx, and has limited hurdles overall when it comes to transferring assets for its clients in securities lending and collateral management.

Andrew Geggus, Global Head of Agency Lending for BNP Paribas Securities Services said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised as the winner of Central Banking’s Specialised Lending Initiative Award. Putting our clients first is the approach we have always taken at BNP Paribas Securities Services, and 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 while maintaining a sharp focus on innovation, level of service provided and risks. I would like to personally thank the many central banks that have put their confidence in BNP Paribas Securities Services, and look forward to building even stronger relationships with them in the years ahead.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Clients stressed BNPPSS’s willingness to offer tailored plans to meet their strategic goals, as well as an around-the-clock availability to rapidly resolve unexpected challenges.”

Risk Management Technology: BlackRock’s Aladdin Risk

Aladdin Risk not only provides daily transparency via portfolio positions and exposures, performance and attribution, portfolio risk, scenario analysis, compliance and oversight – but also helps institutions of all types rethink and redefine portfolio management.

Sudhir Nair, Global Head of the Aladdin Business, BlackRock, said:

“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. 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.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“Aladdin Risk is a powerful engine that helps reserve managers have a deeper understanding of the true risks of their portfolios, including during stressful times such as we see today. Extensive customisation of the platform for Bank of Israel, as well as insights that new ESG capabilities can provide for investors seeking a more complete understanding of sustainability related to their portfolios, also made BlackRock stand out.”

Currency Services Provider: De La Rue

De La Rue engineered a major corporate restructuring while driving the development of its core currency unit, making significant gains during the awards review period. The UK company has made major capital investments, improved its substrate, expanded its security features and gained recognition as a leader in corporate climate policy.

Ruth Euling, Managing Director, Currency, De La Rue, said:

“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the incredible people at De La Rue who have gone above and beyond to serve our customers, drive improvements and make our business more sustainable. While Covid-19 has been difficult for everybody, our employees have faced the challenge of delivering on our commitments while also enabling the turnaround plan and delivering multiple major projects. We are transforming our sites in Westhoughton and Malta. We are future-proofing ourselves to meet the significant demand for Safeguard as central banks continue to convert to polymer. We are delivering new innovative products and effects through our pipeline. We are continuing to consider new and better ways to provide central banks with what they need. And we are doing this while leading the industry in sustainability – not just committing to ‘do better’, but to do our part to help limit global warming to below 1.5°C with targets that show a tangible path towards delivery.

“Thank you to everyone at Central Banking for this honour. Thank you to our customers for their ongoing support and our valued relationships. Thank you also to everyone at De La Rue – our employees are very deserving of this recognition, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved together.”

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“De La Rue has increased its share of the polymer market, while remaining a leader in traditional ‘paper’. It has retained the loyalty of central banks large and small – winning praise from its customers from around the world.”

Financial Market Infrastructure Services: SIA

The judges noted SIA’s partnership with a number of central banks in developing their RTGS systems. They were particularly impressed with SIA’s multi-year effort with Payments Canada that culminated in the ‘big-bang’ introduction of Canada’s new Lynx system in September 2021.

Mario De Lorenzo, Director of Central Institutions Sales at Nexi, said:

“It is a great honour to have our efforts and work for many central banks, especially for Payments Canada, recognised by this distinguished award for Financial Market Infrastructure Services. The launch of Canada’s new high-value payment system represents the final step of a complex and demanding project that SIA, now part of Nexi Group, developed and delivered on time for one of the most financially advanced countries in the world. This award recognises our role in supporting the payments innovation path of our central bank customers, who across Europe, the Middle East, North America, Africa and Oceania, have already chosen our secure, mission-critical and high-performance platforms for their modernisation programmes to make payments easier, smarter and safer for all citizens”.

Christopher Jeffery, Chairman of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Editor-in-chief of Central Banking, said:

“The project demonstrated the value of working with a trusted third-party service provider, even for larger-economy FMIs, and will assist the transition to easier, smarter and safer payments.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Media copies of the citing articles are also available. 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 following links to view the Central Banking Awards 2022, Central Banking Awards 2021, 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.
  6. Follow all Central Banking’s award updates online here.
 
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