Attention shifts to Singapore as Global Custodian’s award season continues

Our managing editor Jonathan Watkins reviews the Leaders in Custody London awards from last week and looks ahead to the upcoming ceremony in Singapore.

What a night it was at the Savoy in London last week for the Leaders in Custody awards – from the expected (great networking and celebrations) to the unexpected (a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday to one of our guests).

If you were in attendance, then we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and if you weren’t able to join, you can certainly get a feel of the evening from our photo gallery and ensuing news articles on the winners from the evening.

You could really feel the energy in the room on 3 May at The Savoy, perhaps more so than ever before. Participants gathered from around the world (“from New Jersey to Japan” – as I mentioned in my opening gambit) to celebrating the achievements of the collective industry over the past 12 months and there was an eclectic mix of participants in the room – from incumbent custodians to fintechs and market infrastructures.

Now we’ve had a week to reflect on the evening and the culmination of our own team’s hard work which went into the evening over five months of planning, I wanted to share a few thoughts and takeaways with you.

Starting chronologically, the evening kicked off with a panel discussion featuring speakers from Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, State Street, BNY Mellon and Euroclear. The discussion was comprehensive, engaging and candid. Though not officially under the Chatham House Rule, the nature of the conversation felt very open and refreshing with the usual call for some areas of improvement, but also a few notes on where the industry has done well and is improving. One attendee said to me afterwards – partly in jest – that “I could just come to this panel once a year and know everything there is to know about what’s going on in the custody space” – a soundbite I was elated to hear, and have probably passed onto multiple people already over the past week.

Another bit of feedback we had during the evening was that it was appreciated how we went into more explanation about the awards and the process behind them this year. Obviously our Agent Banks awards are based on research; however, our Innovation Awards, individual honours and Editors’ Choice are down to a judging panel. Take our Industry Person of the Year award as an example – throughout the year our team add names to a shared list which we then cut down and down in the months leading up to Leaders in Custody before eventually taking the numbers down from 10 to five to a final four. We also highlighted reasons behind all our Editors’ Choice nominees in the build-up to the event – see Asset Servicing Partnership of the Year as an example – and pinpointed the reasons behind the final choice as concisely as an awards ceremony would allow on the evening.

When it came to the non-survey related awards, something that will stick in my memory of the evening was a renewed tension before the winner was ultimately revealed and the subsequent jubilation upon winning. These awards mean a lot to the winners, and represent a fitting recognition for a year’s– or multiple years – work by the team. These categories are fiercely contested, and even making the shortlist is an accomplishment. There were particularly hard-fought contests in Global Custodian of the Year, Fintech of the Year and Asset Servicing Project of the Year – all with multiple nominees in the room and the one incredibly proud recipient of the honour on the night.

When looking down the list of winners each year, you truly get a feel for the firms who have had standout years. Whether it’s the receiving of a major category award such as Overall from our survey-related awards, or the achievement of taking home multiple accolades on the night – Deutsche Bank, SIX, BNY Mellon, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and Raiffeisen Bank International come to mind this year – our roll of honour is a telling list of the best of the best from the securities services industry.

Global Custodian’s awards evenings have not only become a jewel in the crown (pardon the coronation pun) for our publication but also represent a must-attend, staple event in the calendar for our community.

It was because of this reality that we decided to ensure we had a full range of regional coverage when it comes to our awards evenings and introduce the first ever Leaders in Custody Asia Pacific awards – taking place at Raffles, Singapore on 25 May.

A room full of securities services providers will join us in celebrating the achievements of industry in APAC, recognising the top performers in our surveys, along with the innovators and boundary pushers from the past 12 months. We’ll also welcome three new Legends into our Hall of Fame, while also announcing a Lifetime Achievement winner and Industry Person of the Year for accomplishments across the region.

The Asia event perfectly complements our ceremonies in London and New York, with the region bringing its own uniqueness to securities services through a mixture of major, emerging and frontier markets – many growing at an astonishing pace – and bringing with said growth some intriguing opportunities and challenges.

The APAC awards allow us to recognise the trailblazers and transformers of the custody and fund services industry in the region through honours such as our Industry Person of the Year for Asia, Innovation awards, and Lifetime Achievement award. These accolades in London and New York tend to honour those in the respective regions, so we’re delighted to be able to begin this journey of inducting more APAC-based Legends into our Hall of Fame.

The Singapore event will recognise the standout custodians from our Agent Banks Surveys across the region across all classifications of markets, along with overall outperformers.

It’s also a testament to the region and its accomplishments of late that our Editors’ Choice shortlists were so competitive. There have been countless impactful partnerships, projects and examples of innovation, while there have been some significant new mandates leading to a shift in the provider landscape over the past 12 months.

Each January we begin on a five-month journey of selecting individuals and organisations for the awards not based on survey results – from longlists, to shortlists, to final fours and then the eventual winners. We believe this process leads us to recognising the best providers in the industry, and the most present names among both the shortlists and the winners gives you an idea of who truly stood out over the 12 month period as exceptional securities services providers.

London was part one, Singapore part two, and we’ll complete the series later this year in New York.

We’re delighted to be hosting Leaders in Custody in Asia this year as we recognise the accomplishments of a region which is standing out from the crowd when it comes to innovation, growth and potential. We hope to see you there!