Have global transaction banks lost their mojo in Southeast Asia?

By the number of regional/domestic banks featured in this year’s The Asset Triple A Awards for Treasury, Trade, Supply Chain and Risk Management, it begs the question: have global banks lost the battle in Southeast Asia?

Sure you still have the likes of BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered in the thick of things but regional and local banks have now emerged. In markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand for instance, local players are now able to provide companies with complex solutions ranging from supply chain financing to cash pooling solutions.

The heated competition from regional and local banks isn’t only a win for CFO/treasurers but also a wakeup call for global banks to think outside the box. Only then can they gain an edge by having meaningful conversations with their clients about the pain points facing their business, whether it is liquidity or trade financing.

Throughout the last several months, the board of editors at The Asset has seen the growing sophistication of treasury services in the region and is now pleased to present the winning service providers in Asean/Australia. Taking the top two awards in Asean are DBS and Standard Chartered.

DBS wins the Best in Working Capital & Finance – Asean, due to its robust trade finance platform that was able to open new trade corridors for the bank despite challenging conditions. The DBS trade finance franchise scored a number of key mandates during the review period that included several notable MNC clients.

Standard Chartered, on the other hand, captures the Best in Treasury & Cash Management award – Asean, as a result of the number of innovative solutions implemented across the region. Whether it is mobile wallet collections or FX payment settlements, the bank has proven itself to be a key partner for companies across various business segments.

In the opportunistic yet competitive market of Indonesia, regional and local banks stood out among the rest. CIMB Niaga scored several wins this year including Best Transaction Bank in Indonesia, due to its well-rounded approach to tackling the problems of its clients. In cash management the bank works with several e-commerce companies with their reconsolidation process. DBS wins the Best Trade Finance award in Indonesia showcasing its talent in improving the cash conversion cycle for Indonesian businesses.

Thailand likewise saw a number of local Thai banks demonstrate their ability to win key business away from global banks. Siam Commercial Bank worked with a number of high-profile Thai corporates offering FX risk mitigation solutions. The bank wins Best in Treasury and Working Capital, LLCs and Risk Management in Thailand. Bangkok Bank, with its dominant market position in the Thai trade space, was proactive in the supply chain finance space helping several companies win business with its dealer financing solutions. Next door in Myanmar, CB Bank wins the Best Service Providers Trade Finance and Structured Trade Finance in the country.

The Philippines also has been a competitive market. But local banks, rule with the likes of BDO and BPI as stand-outs for cash management and trade finance, respectively. Unionbank was also a bright star in the Philippines, leveraging on new technology to support microfinancing activities in the country.

In the city-state of Singapore, DBS wins the Best Transaction Bank award with its passionate approach to use technology to solve everyday problems for its clients. The bank also has a deep relationship with a number of SME businesses and uses tools such as working capital advisory to help iron out inefficiencies. UOB has put up a good fight and scores Best Cash Management Bank.

Neighbouring Malaysia saw local banks duke it out with the likes of Standard Chartered, HSBC and Deutsche Bank winning key awards by demonstrating their skill in servicing sophisticated corporates. CIMB showed its in-depth understanding of Malaysia’s SME market, crafting supply chain solutions to free up working capital. Standard Chartered takes the Cash Management Bank award, HSBC clinches Trade Finance Bank while Deutsche Bank is e-Solutions Partner Bank of choice. 

Standard Chartered dominated the Vietnamese market presenting both skill and experience in assisting various companies with a slew of requests such as tax payments and mobile wallet collections. The bank has a good foothold in the country’s FIs/NBFIs segment. Local bank VietinBank wins the Best in Treasury and Working Capital SMEs in Vietnam, receiving strong client testimonials and seeing a rise in SME clientele.

Finally, down under in Australia, ANZ yet again proved to be a strong player in the Australian market securing key mandates in the country. The bank has also made a commitment to technology investment to smooth out the payments and pooling processes for its clients. Last year the bank invested US$1.3 billion across the group to enhance its core banking capabilities. Westpac also had its fair share of wins in Australia picking up honours for its supply chain financing work for important customers in the country.

Click here to view the full list of winners.