Winners of the Central Banking Awards 2023

Central Banking is pleased to announce the winners of its 10th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community

For immediate release: March 24, 2023

Central Banking is pleased to announce the full list of winners of the Central Banking Awards 2023, its 10th annual industry awards recognising excellence in the central banking community. #CBawards

Drawing on more than 30 years of independent and informed reporting, analysis, benchmarking 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 giving the awards as well as reaction comments from Andriy Pyshny, Shaktikanta Das, Stefan Ingves, Roberto Campos Neto, Bruno Serra Fernandes, Adam Glapiński, Sergiy Nikolaychuk, Nor Shamsiah Yunus, Lorie Logan, Chiara Scotti, Abdirahman M. Abdullahi, Oleksii Shaban, Senad Softić, Timothy Antoine, Guillermo Avellan, Klaas Knot, Oliver Bilal, Johanna Lasker, Arnaud Claudon, Sebastien Danloy, Katharine Furber, Thérèse Couture, Paul Snaith, Matthew Gregory, Gabriele Dunker, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Kolman, Rajosik Banerjee, Seemanta Patnaik and Gil Guillaumey.

Central Bank of the Year: National Bank of Ukraine

The National Bank of Ukraine took a series of bold and difficult decisions under considerable pressure to respond to the massive simultaneous shocks to the economy that resulted after Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February last year. The NBU immediately implemented its contingency plans and rapidly adjusted its monetary policy framework to support the Ukrainian hryvnia, succeeding despite huge falls in exports and an exodus of refugees. The NBU ensured in advance that Ukraine’s banks had the liquidity they needed to meet urgent customer demand. Often huddled in underground bunkers, its staff also launched an extensive communications campaign, ‘Financial defence of Ukraine’, to provide Ukrainian citizens, financial system participants and other stakeholders with up-to-the-minute information across all communication channels. In particular, the NBU ensured that Ukrainians, some five million of whom were internally displaced, could continue using electronic payments and banks could service their customers with confidence, despite Russian cyber hackers attacking the country’s financial infrastructure. The NBU also worked closely with the other European central banks to set up emergency hryvnia cash exchange arrangements enabling some eight million Ukrainian refugees to exchange Ukrainian cash throughout Europe, should need arise. While the central bank became the main source of finance for Ukraine’s defence and humanitarian spending, NBU officials also took the brave step of tightening policy after the initial shock of the invasion was over.

Andriy Pyshny, Governor, National Bank of Ukraine, said:

“I am grateful to Central Banking for its high assessment of the NBU’s work. Such recognition comes as an honour for our entire team, which has been holding the financial front line since the first shots rang out on the horrible morning of February 24 last year. I thank all NBU employees for fulfilling their duties and acting in a co-ordinated and efficient manner. I also appreciate the Ukrainian banks’ and their teams’ united efforts and awareness of their responsibility because this result came from the synergy of each of your actions.

“The NBU has shown its professionalism and composure to the whole world. The NBU has proven its ability to meet its commitments under any conditions, and to act promptly and go out of its way to ensure the smooth operation and stability of the financial system. Many wartime challenges and – most important – Ukraine’s victory and reconstruction lie ahead of us, and we have been getting ready for them. Despite everything, this terrible year has made us stronger and better equipped to do even more for our country, and the international recognition of our efforts only confirms that we are on the right track.”

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

“The staff of the National Bank of Ukraine have demonstrated exceptional determination, competence, resilience, teamwork and ingenuity to ensure continued monetary and financial stability in Ukraine – despite ongoing physical and cyber attacks from Russia. That there has been little concern expressed about the financial strength of Ukraine’s banks, the functioning of its payment system or the ability to convert hryvnia cash, is a testament to the incredible work that has been carried out by the NBU and its inspirational staff.”

Governor of the Year: Shaktikanta Das

Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has an impressive track record in delivering financial sector reforms, driving the Indian banking sector clean-up, managing price and financial stability while championing the development of India’s world-leading payments technology. Das’s leadership has created greater harmony within the RBI and he has also demonstrated exemplary communication skills to explain the RBI’s actions in a manner that resonates well with the wider Indian population.

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

“I am deeply honoured to have been chosen for the ‘Governor of the Year Award’ from Central Banking. The year 2022 presented unprecedented challenges, as the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the shocks from the war in Ukraine threatened to derail the economic recovery in India, which had been assiduously nurtured over the previous two years. On the back of prudent policy measures undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India during the pandemic, we continued our focus on securing price stability, preserving resilience of the financial sector and promoting innovation. Our measures facilitated a strong economic recovery in India, which has emerged as an island of resilience in an ocean of uncertainty. I consider this award as a recognition of the dedicated efforts of all my colleagues in the RBI during such trying times.”

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

“Shaktikanta Das has demonstrated his adroit administrative skills to navigate India’s complex bureaucracy to defend the RBI’s role and push through important reforms, some started by his predecessors. He has overseen a radical transformation of India’s payments system and his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic helped to safeguard the livelihoods of over a billion people. Das has also implemented governance reforms at the RBI that should help it retain its position as a centre of excellence.”

Lifetime Achievement: Stefan Ingves

Stefan Ingves’ decades of public service in Sweden and internationally has had a profound impact in the world of central banking, particularly in the areas of financial services oversight, crisis resolution, unconventional monetary policy and transparency. Ingves learned early lessons from dealing with the Swedish housing and banking crisis in the early 1990s and used them while governor of Sveriges Riksbank during the Nordic financial crisis of the late 2000s. He also shared his crisis-fighting expertise while working at the International Monetary Fund and as the longest-serving chair of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to help develop improved bank capital rules, financial oversight and crisis-management governance. As a leader, Ingves has demonstrated an ability to break down complex problems and resolve them in a pragmatic, speedy manner – often amid great uncertainty – while always seeking to explain his actions in clear language. His commitment to transparency – an essential element for operationally independent central banks – was showcased when Sveriges Riksbank embraced new levels of disclosure and public engagement under Ingves’ governorship. He has also served as a pioneer in central banking, notably when the Riksbank used monetary policy to lean against a potential housing bubble, introduced negative policy rates and started work on developing a central bank digital currency.

Stefan Ingves, Governor, Sveriges Riksbank (2006–23); Chairman, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (2011–19), Director, Monetary and Financial Systems Department, International Monetary Fund (1999–2005), said:

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

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

“Ingves has always striven to understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ practicalities of any issue, rather than relying purely on theory. This, combined with his down-to-earth, story-telling skills, has allowed him to secure support for essential, sometimes huge, projects as well as altering future expectations – while, at the same time, humanising central bankers.”

Reserve Manager: Central Bank of Brazil

The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) has revamped its reserve management processes; improved its organisational structure; changed its asset allocations, instruments and tactical investment rules; and invested in new in-house technologies. The BCB has also implemented changes related to its investment process, sustainability approach and asset allocation. It has diversified into new currencies, added new credit classes and introduced new investment tools. Its active management framework rules were revised and the reserve management team, which has been buying green bonds for almost 10 years, now considers sustainability as part of its counterparty evaluation process. In the local FX market, important enhancements were introduced, such as the introduction of new types of auctions to limit excessive moves in dollar and local currency markets. Most of these changes were supported by the development of new modules to the central bank’s in-house suite of systems for the foreign reserves management – or by completely new systems that were developed in-house from scratch.

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

“I am very honoured for such distinctive recognition of the BCB´s achievements in Reserve Management that this award represents. The last three years have proven particularly challenging for global central bankers and policy-makers to cope with the effects of a series of unpredicted shocks that have led to considerable uncertainty in financial markets and severe threats to their well-functioning. The prudent, and at the same time innovative, way in which the management of Brazil´s international reserves was conducted has been instrumental in fulfilling the BCB´s mandate of keeping price stability while safeguarding financial stability.”

Bruno Serra Fernandes, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Brazil, said:

“On behalf of the BCB, I am grateful to accept the award of Reserve Manager of the year, which I would like to share with the Foreign Reserves Department team for their extraordinary support and commitment throughout these highly demanding times.

“Managing over $300 billion in reserves in an adverse environment such as the one we have witnessed in the last few years requires a great deal of mindfulness to address multiple market and operational risks, and also openness and flexibility to rethink established processes and to promote innovative solutions when new paradigms unfold. It was necessary to promote several changes to portfolio management and FX policy execution. Governance was significantly improved in the tactical asset allocation decision-making process. New asset classes and financial instruments were incorporated into the reserves. The FX intervention toolkit was enhanced by the design of new types of auctions and liquidity facilities. Internal systems were developed or modernised by using in-house technology.

“The list of accomplishments is vast, and I could name many others. But, more importantly, innovation does not end here. The BCB is constantly revisiting its processes in reserve management to achieve higher levels of efficiency and excellence while pursuing its institutional mission. This is the most valuable asset we can deliver to society.”

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

“The Central Bank of Brazil has implemented a significant overhaul in the management of its more than $300 billion in foreign exchange reserves during the past few years – a period marked by acute economic and financial shocks. These efforts have enabled the central bank to better meet its price and financial stability goals.”

Currency Manager: National Bank of Poland and National Bank of Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused acute cash distribution challenges in both Ukraine and Poland that required significant attention by officials at both the National Bank of Ukraine and the National Bank of Poland. Despite having to cope with domestic cash problems, both central banks reacted decisively to set up the emergency hryvnia cash exchange arrangement from March 2022, which provided a critical cash lifeline to Ukrainian refugees.

Adam Glapiński, Governor, National Bank of Poland, said:

“On behalf of Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP), which I am honoured to govern, I would like to express our joy that the latest edition of the Central Banking’s Currency Manager Award has been granted jointly to two closely cooperating central banks – NBP and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). The award confirms the efficiency of the protection of the value of Polish currency and currency management by NBP.

“Even though the cooperation between our banks has continued for decades, it acquired a special character and importance in the face of Russia’s bestial attack on Ukraine, which caused, among other things, high inflation, disruptions to financial flows as well as a huge influx of refugees from Ukraine, of whom around 1.5 million still find shelter in Poland.

“In response to the crisis caused by the Russian aggression, NBP undertook numerous aid measures helping Ukrainian citizens through supporting Ukraine’s central bank in maintaining the continuity of the country’s financial system, such as the swap line for the currency pair USD/UAH up to $1 billion, in-kind support, introducing the subject of backing Ukraine to the agenda of international institutions, and last, but not least, offering Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war the possibility to exchange currency from hryvnia to zloty.

“Thanks to this initiative, from March 25 to September 9, 2022, over 100,000 Ukrainian citizens were able to exchange currency in hryvnias into zlotys, obtaining the means to meet their basic needs during Ukraine’s hardest moments. This unprecedented assistance operation set an example for other European countries.

“We are very glad that the jury acknowledged NBP’s initiative by granting the Central Banking’s Currency Manager Award. We acted in the spirit of solidarity with our neighbour and took care of the macroeconomic stability in the region. While admiring our Ukrainian friends’ heroic attitude in the face of war and standing ready to offer further assistance, Narodowy Bank Polski is already looking forward to the times of peace that – let us all hope – will come soon, after the much-expected victory of Ukraine.”

Sergiy Nikolaychuk, Deputy Governor, National Bank of Ukraine, said:

“This award from Central Banking is especially valuable for the NBU team. We are so grateful. Our primary goal was to protect the interests of Ukrainians. We could not leave our people in the lurch in their time of hardship. The majority of Ukrainians who had gone abroad were women with children. They arrived there with only a minimum of belongings and what little hryvnia cash they could scrape together in a rush. They found themselves unable to exchange the hryvnias for local currencies. This prompted us to start looking for ways to resolve that problem.

“One month into the full-scale invasion, the NBU and Narodowy Bank Polski managed to launch a cash hryvnia exchange capability in Poland, where most Ukrainians had gone. This was the first time the NBU had made such an arrangement with a foreign central bank. We are extremely grateful to our Polish colleagues for their cooperation, support and compassion towards Ukrainian displaced persons, who had to run for their lives as they fled the war.

“Through our joint efforts, these individuals were able to meet their vital needs. Our partnership with Narodowy Bank Polski also resulted in a hryvnia cash exchange programme that was unprecedented in scale. We implemented the programme jointly with nine other EU central banks, and precisely when it was needed the most.”

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

“Both central banks faced extreme pressures on their cash supplies in early 2022. They not only successfully managed domestic cash issues but also set up the hryvnia-to-zloty exchange scheme that helped more than 100,000 extremely vulnerable Ukrainian refugees, most of them women and children, to exchange cash in Poland. This bilateral development represented an important template for other agreements across Europe.”

Risk Manager: Bank Negara Malaysia

Many central banks are grappling with what to do about cyber security in a post-Covid-19 world where many staff engage in remote working. Bank Negara Malaysia made a firm decision to move away from its zero-tolerance approach towards information leaks, to one that is more pragmatic and based on a more sophisticated system of risk-tolerance thresholds.

Nor Shamsiah Yunus, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, said:

“I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of Bank Negara Malaysia. This award is a recognition of the collective efforts of our staff in strengthening BNM’s risk-management capability and embracing a positive risk culture. Just like other central banks, BNM was not alone in experiencing heightened threats to cyber and information security, as we embraced a hybrid working arrangement. Recognising that any chain is as strong as its weakest link, we adopted a whole-of-bank approach, emphasising that all staff have an equally important role to play in fortifying our defences against these threats.”

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

“While others have attempted similar changes for some departments, Bank Negara Malaysia’s approach stands out for its organisation-wide scope. This means that everyone, from the board of directors through to individuals within each department, had to be on board with the radical shake-up.”

Economics: Enrique Martínez García, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Enrique Martínez García and his team used a combination of diligent data-gathering and state-of-the-art econometrics to produce an easily interpreted indicator of housing market exuberance. The tool has been used widely across many leading central banks and other organisations. It looks set to offer policy-makers important benefits in terms of offering insights into the housing market in years to come.

Lorie Logan, the Dallas Fed’s President and CEO, and voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, said:

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

Chiara Scotti, the Dallas Fed’s Senior Vice-President and Director of Research, said:

“Enrique Martínez García and his team have done careful cross-country data work, which is a particularly needed public good for international comparisons, building bridges with academia and other researchers to shape the debate on housing over the past decade. He has also taken a novel view on the detection of housing froth and the impact it can have on our understanding of real estate markets, helping flesh out the concept of housing exuberance for macro-prudential purposes and for assessing the risks to the outlook for monetary policy-making.”

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

“Enrique Martínez García and his team’s product represent the highest example of economic research. Beyond its potency and usefulness for policy-makers, it is understandable to and applicable for the general public. We hope in receiving this award, central banks can learn from the Dallas Fed’s public model. Data-driven insights such as these are what push our understanding of the economy forward.”

Payments and Market Infrastructure Development: Central Bank of Somalia

Central Bank of Somalia’s extremely hard work returned a national payment system to the country after a near 30-year absence. The central bank’s efforts, working with the World Bank and domestic financial institutions, created a payments infrastructure from scratch, despite Covid-19 and security challenges. The ‘soft’ roll-out in 2021 was followed by major efforts by the central bank in 2022 to ensure the payment system functioned properly while drawing in another four commercial banks – ensuring the development of a ‘banking system’ that is vital for economic development in the country.

Abdirahman M. Abdullahi, Governor of the Central Bank of Somalia, said:

“The Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) is delighted to receive Central Banking’s Payments and Market Infrastructure Development Award. It is a huge recognition of the hard work that CBS has put in to restructure the institution and spearhead the reform of Somalia’s finance sector.

“One of the key achievements in this transformative journey has been the development of the National Payment System (NPS) to support both domestic and international transactions. NPS was fully implemented in 2022 as a flagship infrastructure to enable the interoperability of all commercial banks with built-in AML/CFT oversight. NPS also contributes to the country’s wider financial market reform agenda and digitalisation processes, which includes the development of a payment switch and national QR Code. CBS is currently in the process of implementing these systems and will adapt IBAN and Swift ISO 20022 messaging format on March 25, 2023. ISO 20022 is the new global standard for financial information (payments, securities, and trade finance) and replaces the legacy SWIFT messaging standard (FIN-MT messages). This will allow the CBS to conduct cross-border operations more efficiently.

“We thank the committee for this honour. NPS is a testament to the progress that Somalia’s finance sector is making after decades of being cut off from the global financial markets. We hope that these achievements will help restore the assurances of international banks, regulators and investors with regards to Somalia’s reintegration into the international financial system. We will continue to build the institutional capacity of CBS to fortify its capabilities as an effective regulator and policy-maker to support the country’s financial stability and economic growth.”

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

“The Central Bank of Somalia has established its national payments system, despite facing some very difficult circumstances. The establishment of its payments infrastructure and ‘Switch’, the launch of new AML/CFT oversight and the introduction of Swift Ibans all contribute to developing a Somali banking system and will help the country to reintegrate into the international financial system.”

Payments and Market Infrastructure Initiative: National Bank of Ukraine’s BankID

BankID was harnessed to facilitate electronic banking and uphold the retail payments system. The NBU’s efforts reduced costs, facilitated the provision of critical documents to displaced citizens, and faced down threats amid martial law.

The NBU Deputy Governor Oleksii Shaban, commented:

The NBU team is honoured to have received international recognition of its efforts to develop financial innovations. We have been working on the NBU BankID System for seven years now. Over this time, we have significantly modernised it and expanded the circle of its participants. More than 99% of individuals who are Ukrainian banks’ clients have access to the system. They can receive remote services from more than a hundred service providers. This capability has been especially valuable under martial law. The NBU BankID System has enabled Ukrainians to continue to enjoy public and financial services remotely, especially if these persons have been displaced or if they cannot be serviced at bank branches due to wartime conditions. For instance, the NBU BankID System ensures that clients have access to digital copies of their documents in the Diia app and can authenticate themselves through the system to remotely open bank accounts. We are grateful for this award. It motivates and inspires us to make new achievements and to develop further.”

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

“After martial law was declared, the NBU cancelled fees for their services within the BankID system. Citizens who were unable to save or replace their documents were able to transfer their primary document data using the state’s Diia application. This has provided support for millions of displaced Ukrainians and helped to ensure financial stability.”

Transparency: Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The central bank undertook significant efforts to improve transparency, most notably through the adoption of its new ethics code, which includes a whistle-blower reporting facility that meets European Union standards.

Senad Softić, Governor of the Central bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said:

“We are truly honoured for receiving Central Banking’s Transparency Award 2023. I believe the award comes at the right moment for the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, given the very challenging times and a complex environment for introducing new tools for fighting against corruption, and strengthening integrity and transparency in work. When we see the winners in this category from previous years, being by their side makes us proud and gives us an additional motivation to be even more determined in building a stronger ethical business environment in the coming period.

“This award is a confirmation that we are doing the right thing. The commitment to introducing and developing new communication models and new functions such as the compliance function, in the period of the pandemic and turmoil in the financial markets caused by the war in Ukraine, required additional efforts. Therefore, we are grateful that Central Banking recognised this and awarded us with the Transparency Award.

“Transparency and trust in the work of the CBBH is extremely important to us – because it additionally positions us as an independent institution, with the determination that its work will always be guided by expertise, all in the interest of our citizens and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having a safe monetary authority, a stable currency and thereby ensuring financial stability in the country, through strengthening the reputation, regardless of all obstacles and challenges, will be our mission in the period ahead.”

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

“The bank’s pioneering effort looks set to offer a ‘high-water mark’ for other public institutions to strive for in their efforts to bolster transparency and tackle corruption.”

Communications Initiative: The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

The ECCB has produced over 30 high-quality and well-structured educational videos to improve financial knowledge and understanding of the role of the central bank among all peoples of its eight-member jurisdictions during the past year.

Timothy Antoine, Governor of the ECCB, said:

“On behalf of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, I am very pleased to accept this prestigious award from Central Banking, in recognition of our efforts in communications outreach. Here at the ECCB, we are continuously striving to make it plain, to make it simple, to make it accessible to the people we serve.

“In recent times, we have partnered with our community, to bring them in, as contributors, in creating content for various communications products. And so, we’re very pleased with the award. It will energise us as we press forward with these efforts.”

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

“The ECCB has made significant progress in its efforts to improve financial literacy among the currency union’s eight member jurisdictions. This included inviting speakers and interviewees from diverse backgrounds to contribute to its communications programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic, while making use of both traditional and social media channels to disseminate its video content.”

Initiative of the Year: Central Bank of Ecuador’s Gold Acquisition Programme

Under its gold acquisition programme, the Central Bank of Ecuador has made commendable efforts to promote sustainable and responsible gold-mining activities by small-scale and artisanal miners. By conducting rigorous due diligence, the BCE makes sure that the gold it purchases from small-scale miners is responsibly sourced. Through the programme, the BCE successfully added around 2.5 tonnes of internationally certified gold bars into its international reserves last year, boosting its coffers by $158 million.

Guillermo Avellan, General Manager (Governor), Central Bank of Ecuador, said:

“We want to thank Central Banking for recognising our efforts. It is an honour to receive the Initiative of the Year award, as it acknowledges the hard work and commitment of our team.

“Our initiative has had a significant impact on the formalisation and development of the small-scale mining sector. We have recently strengthened our Gold Commercialization Program to ensure the compliance of local environmental and AML regulation through coordinated work with regulators in these areas.

“We take great pride in our Gold Commercialization Program as it is consistent with our legal mandate and it also increases the country’s international reserves, promoting monetary stability for the Ecuadorian economy.

“Receiving this award acknowledges the improvements of the central bank in terms of governance, transparency and coordination with other public entities. We are convinced this achievement will inspire other public institutions to strive for excellence and contribute positively to Ecuador’s development.”

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

“The BCE’s gold reserves enabled the central bank to set up liquidity lines with the Bank for International Settlements and, perhaps soon, with the Latin American Reserve Fund for stressed times. Overall, the gold-buying programme has played a role in bolstering the central bank’s financial position and improving Ecuador’s financial stability.”

Green Initiative: The Netherlands Bank

The Netherlands Bank (DNB) has worked hard to examine the relationship between its investment portfolio and environmental concerns, especially climate change. DNB used its regular strategic asset allocation exercise to assess, how its portfolio affected, and was affected by, environmental factors.

Klaas Knot, Governor, The Netherlands Bank, said:

We are very happy and honoured that DNB’s efforts in sustainability are recognised by Central Banking. The Green Initiative Award crowns years of progress in which DNB constantly pushed the limits of integrating sustainability in the central bank activities. We are among the eight founders of the NGFS, and we were the first central bank to sign the Principles for Responsible Investing in 2019. We have the ambition to integrate sustainability in all our core tasks including financial stability, supervision, economic research and advice, and, of course, reserves management. The Strategic Asset Allocation is an area where developments have been slow in the industry; this gave us a great opportunity to pioneer. But I should stress that we – DNB, the central banking community and the financial industry as a whole – are still very much at the beginning. The world is not on a path to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. As an immediate next step, we will launch our first Paris-aligned equity mandate this year. Our ambition is to align all our investments with the Paris Agreement, and we hope to inspire fellow central banks to also step up their sustainability ambitions. The challenge is tremendous. So is the opportunity.”

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

DNB’s assessment team used innovative methods to look at complex climate-related questions in great detail, and its work may be useful to many other central banks. The central bank’s board made several significant changes to the central bank’s investment portfolio as a result of the work. DNB’s work is a significant step forward in enabling central banks to green their investments.”

Asset Manager: Invesco

The significant efforts Invesco has made to grow its footprint with central banks and other official sector clients over several years appears to be paying off as I gained clients and investment assets. This has stemmed from engaging central banks around the world, providing them with vital market knowledge, developing insights from a long-running peer survey and offering specialist training, among other matters. Notably, Invesco secured substantial investment in quantitative strategies, including one central bank in a ‘value, momentum and quality’ strategy.

Oliver Bilal, Head of Emea Distribution, Invesco, commented:

“Invesco is honoured to receive this prestigious award for our work with central banks, which represent a key segment for our business. In particular, the award reflects the suitability of our diversified multi-factor strategy for central banks, which is built on well-proven drivers of long-term returns and is managed by our established Invesco Quantitative Strategies team. We very much appreciate this recognition for our close and ongoing engagement with central banks, which we will continue to develop and build on.”

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

“Particular note was made regarding the implementation of a smart beta, quant investment strategy in volatile market conditions for a central bank that subsequently raised its capital invested from $300 million to $1 billion. Returns in 2022 exceeded the benchmark by around 270 basis points.”

ESG Services: BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas exhibits commitment across its divisions in helping central banks and other official institutions to address environmental, social and governance challenges. This was ably demonstrated by its asset management unit’s work with three Asian central banks. BNP Paribas has also supported ESG sovereign bond issuance by Slovenia and Chile, and its Manaos Open ESG platform is providing important ‘anti-greenwashing’ insights.

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

“As the ‘sustainable investor for a changing world’, BNP Paribas Asset Management is honoured to be awarded the inaugural ESG award by Central Banking for 2023. This recognition further exemplifies our objective, to act every day, everywhere we operate, in favour of a more sustainable economy and to help our clients meet tomorrow’s challenges today. We are exceptionally grateful to the central banks and official institutions community for their continued partnership and for allowing us to help them achieve their long-term sustainable returns.”

Arnaud Claudon, Head of Asset Owners & Asset Managers Client Lines, Securities Services, BNP Paribas, said:

“This award is strong recognition of our commitment to be a leading positive-impact custodian. We strive to support our clients in their sustainable investment strategies while incorporating ESG in our own operations and products, with the ambition to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. I would like to thank our central bank clients for their continued partnership, as we pursue the expansion of our sustainable finance offering.”

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

BNP Paribas has a long-standing commitment to ESG principles. This was highlighted in its work with three Asian central banks – assisting one in assessing carbon emissions linked to its portfolio investments, sharing with another BNP Paribas’ sustainable investment expertise and helping the Monetary Authority of Singapore to develop an ESG fintech ecosystem.”

Asset Services Provider: HSBC

HSBC has significantly grown its book of lendable assets from central banks and sovereign investors over the past couple of years, thanks to the bank’s winning combination of powerful global brand and strong local presence – something that has been particularly appreciated during the turbulent Covid-19 times. Notably, HSBC has helped to develop the local securities lending market in Saudi Arabia, and is working on similar projects in other Middle Eastern countries, while continuing to develop lending markets in Asia.

Sebastien Danloy, Interim Head of Securities Services, HSBC, said:

“We at HSBC are delighted to win Central Banking’s Asset Services Award, recognising our product capabilities for central banks and sovereign wealth funds. A robust, performance-focused securities lending offering is a core pillar of our product set. We also look forward to the opportunity to continue working with regulators across jurisdictions as they develop securities-lending capabilities in their respective markets.”

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

“The contribution that HSBC is making to the development of lending markets in the Middle East and Asia is especially worth highlighting. The long-term strategic partnership that HSBC is forming with central banks around the world has also helped the bank win a couple of important custody mandates recently.”

Financial Market Infrastructure Services: Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s ability to combine best-in-class international experience with close attention to local market specificities won it high praise from a range of clients in both developing and more mature markets. The significant milestone to extend Georgia’s e-bond trading platform to repo was well-received in the country, where it has greatly improved price discovery and trade execution. In the Netherlands, Bloomberg was able to extend the use of its auction platform to areas where it had not previously been used, again by working closely with the client and focusing on some market-specific technical challenges.

Katharine Furber, Head of Emerging Markets Trading Product, Bloomberg, said:

“We are proud to have won Central Banking’s Financial Market Infrastructure Services award. It is a testament to our commitment to working closely with clients in various markets to develop and deliver solutions that can meet their unique needs. Bloomberg will continue to focus on providing debt markets with robust technology and infrastructure solutions that are aimed at increasing their transparency, liquidity and trading efficiency.”

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

“Bloomberg has demonstrated it can bring international best practice and customise world-class systems to meet local market needs. As more than one client commented, it was this attention to local detail that often gave Bloomberg an edge over their competitors.”

Asset Services Initiative: The World Bank

The World Bank has helped to ease the difficulty in servicing renminbi investments by laying the foundation for quick and easy execution of dual-renminbi (covering both onshore and offshore trading) mandates. While the multi-lateral institution has invested for a number of years in a dual-mandate structure for its own renminbi investments, it wasn’t until 2022 that the institution found a way of offering a similar service to one of its central banking clients. The work, carried out for a Reserve Advisory and Management Partnership (Ramp) member, was no trivial undertaking, not least because it required integrating existing custodian relationships with the unique domestic Chinese framework.

Thérèse Couture, Director of Asset Management and Advisory, Treasury Department, the World Bank, said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Banco de Mozambique to develop a customised mandate to manage their renminbi reserves across onshore and offshore markets. The mandate is a testament to the strength of the partnership and the peer-to-peer expertise that supports institutional development for all Ramp members.”

Paul Snaith, Director, Operations, World Bank Treasury, said:

“We are honoured to receive Central Banking’s Asset Services Initiative Award … Building upon our longstanding experience in this space, we conducted research and collaborated with global and domestic market partners and infrastructure providers in China to operationalise a mandate for Banco de Mozambique that is effective, efficient and scalable. The new mandate offers a model for other asset managers, custodians, and clients alike.”

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

“The World Bank made a concerted effort to facilitate renminbi investments for Bank of Mozambique, one of its Ramp clients. The importance of the renminbi as a global currency is unlikely to go away, and the World Bank has made a valuable contribution with its combined servicing of the offshore and onshore markets.”

Partner Initiative: Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s deep regulatory knowledge is supported by its ability to tap into its global network of lawyers. Notably, in the past year, the firm has helped establish a crowdfunding regime in Armenia, working with the Central Bank of Armenia in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – and how the firm has now been asked to work on another similar project in Jordan.

Matthew Gregory, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, said:

“On behalf of my colleagues across the firm, I’m really delighted that we have received this recognition for our work with central banks, particularly in connection with innovative, leading-edge reforms. Through our global Financial Services Regulation and FinTech practices, we are able to draw on a depth of expertise across jurisdictions to deliver these mandates. We highly value our work with central banks, multilateral organisations and others as a key pillar of our global practice.”

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

“Norton Rose Fulbright has an impressive track record of delivering legal support to central banks around the world, and drew praise from clients for its depth of expertise and flexibility.”

Advisory Services: Financial Transparency Advisors

Financial Transparency Advisors (FTA) has emerged in recent years as a valuable partner to national authorities facing FATF assessments and other probes into their AML/CFT frameworks. The firm counts on deep expertise from former FATF officials, allowing it to shed light on a sometimes-inscrutable process and ‘speak the same language’ as the global financial crime watchdog.

Gabriele Dunker, Partner, Financial Transparency Advisors, said:

“It is immensely gratifying to get recognition for the huge time, effort and energy our team is devoting to every single one of our projects, and to guiding our client countries every step of the way. Our goal at FTA is to strengthen countries’ AML/CFT frameworks in all aspects and enable our client countries to present those frameworks in the best light possible. Knowing that our work has a clear positive impact and is recognised by central banks and other AML/CFT supervisors around the world is our biggest achievement.”

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

FTA clients – which range from institutions in G7 countries to those in small but critical financial centres – described how FTA was able to deliver major change to every aspect of their operating frameworks. Through its comprehensive approach, FTA has helped several jurisdictions to pass their FATF assessments.”

Currency Services: Note Printing Australia

Note Printing Australia has formed a partnership with the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP) to produce polymer notes – initially through a limited-scale pilot. NPA will initially print the polymer notes but is also training and assisting the BSP in developing its own capacity to print on polymer, which the BSP expects to do once it has completed its new printworks in central Luzon.

Malcolm McDowell, Chief Executive Officer, Note Printing Australia, said:

“Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have been an ideal partner in this 1,000 Piso polymer banknote project, which has been characterised by a positive and transparent approach in which both the Bank and NPA have worked hard to support each other.”

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

“Within the framework of an intergovernmental arrangement, NPA has been able, not only to win new business in a major South-east Asian market, but also to help the Philippine authorities develop their own polymer production capabilities.”

Payment Services: Ion Group

Ion, through its Treasury and Markets units, notably at Wall Street Systems, has offered important assistance to more than 20 central banks and state treasuries in upgrading their payments messaging to comply with ISO 20022.

Michael Kolman, Chief Product Officer, Ion Treasury, said:

“We are delighted to have won the Central Banking’s Payment Services Award.

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

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

“The company drew high praise from a European finance ministry and a Latin American central bank for its support of their ISO 20022 migrations.”

Risk Management Services: KPMG

KPMG has developed a strong reputation with central banks and supervisors around the world for its work in risk management. Notable, in the past year, was KPMG’s work with the Central Bank of UAE in number of areas, including supporting its insurance supervision team across different regulatory change.

Rajosik Banerjee, Partner and Head of Financial Risk Management, KPMG in India, said:

“We are extremely delighted, humbled and thankful to be recognised as the winner of Central Banking’s Risk Management Services award.

KPMG has been working with several regulators across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas in regulation and supervision. This recognition is a testimony of the varied and nuanced work done by us.

“Our engagement with the regulator is unique, supporting them in effectively supervising the regulated insurance companies across ERM, risk-assessment frameworks and IFRS 17 implementation.

“While working on the engagement, we have leveraged the experience of working with other central banks and regulators in the banking and insurance domains. Getting recognised for the work, proves that KPMG brings value for our clients and reinforces the firm’s commitment to assist our business partners in an era of rapid technological changes in the field of risk management as well as new regulations and standards coming into effect in the BFSI domain.”

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

“This project drew on extensive experience that KPMG has built up in other countries, underscoring broader credentials that helped carry secure your victory this year.”

Technology Services: SecurEyes

The India cyber security specialist developed a tech product that enables near to real-time supervision in areas of cyber security, business continuity, IT governance and cyber fraud across banking, fintech, financing, credit bureaux and payment systems. Its efforts were showcased by a collaboration with an important central bank.

Seemanta Patnaik, Chief Technology Officer, SecurEyes, said:

“This award is a recognition of the commitment of SecurEyes to impact central banks and the trust that our customers have placed on our brand. It is an acknowledgement of the premium we place on innovation and customer centricity, the result of which is RegTrac, a robust product addressing supervisory and regulatory requirements in a seamlessly integrated platform. This will go a long way for central banks globally to take advantage of the product for near to real-time visibility with risk-based supervisory capabilities to manage risks and compliance with an accelerated time to value.”

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

“Central banks and supervisors need to address threats to the financial institutions and market infrastructures they oversee to protect financial stability. SecurEyes has developed an integrated suptech and regtech capability that its central bank customer says can help supervisors address cyber risks. RegTrac effectively digitises the cyber security supervisory capability of the central bank, coupled with reporting by regulated entities.”

Technology Services – Treasury: Adenza

Adenza (owner of Calypso) has broken new ground in the past year with its cloud-based treasury management system, applied in a central banking context for the first time. The platform is already helping one leading central bank in Europe manage its reserves more effectively, with a parallel system for monetary operations now being put in place.

Gil Guillaumey, Head of Strategy, Capital Market Solutions, Adenza Group, said:

“We are honoured to receive the Central Banking Awards Committee’s accolade that highlights Adenza’s commitment to support the central bank community. With our comprehensive solution and innovative “super tools” – cloud enablement and the new e-Monetary Portal – central banks can simplify and optimise their approach to reserve, treasury, collateral management and member-bank interaction in a truly integrated way.

“Especially at this time of challenging market conditions, we encourage other banks to join our central bank community and futureproof their operations by utilising Adenza’s Calypso integrated, front-to-back Central Bank Solution.”

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

“The platform allows the central bank to cut costs by consolidating legacy systems, while refocusing resources on its core mandates. A second central bank has since signed up.”

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 2023, 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.

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