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Asset Servicing / Awards / TechTalk
Asset servicing awards: digital solutions shine in bleak markets
Honouring the best custodians, subcustodians and fund administrators in Asia
The Asset 19 May 2023

In a year when market valuations plunged and assets under custody (AUC) suffered massively, asset service providers managed to continue providing high levels of service to their financially beleaguered clients on the back of their reliable digital and technology infrastructure.

Having invested heavily in enhancing their technological capabilities, these asset service providers were able to meet extraordinary client demands in a difficult market environment. Asset owners, asset managers, broker-dealers, and other clients who were able to tap into the digital infrastructure and technology resources of their asset service providers proved to be more resilient in coping with the market downturn.

Such digital platforms and technology resources include API solutions for fully automated reporting, connectivity to depository and clearing-house bodies, e-tax portal for managing tax accounts online,  FX automation, robotic process automation (RPA) and optical character recognition (OCR) solutions to mitigate operational risks, chatbots to enhance client experience, etc.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, global banks are well positioned to leverage their digital capabilities to deliver highly automated solutions as part of their asset service offerings.

In subcustody and domestic custody, migration of mandates could not have been accomplished amid tight deadlines without the use of these sophisticated digital platforms that custodian banks have invested in, developed over the years, and honed further during the pandemic.

Despite the challenging market situation last year, service providers were able to secure new mandates from both new and existing clients. This expansion of mandates was mainly observed in South Asia and Southeast Asia – particularly in India, Indonesia and Thailand.

In fund administration, digital platforms were instrumental in enhancing connectivity and efficiency, reducing costs, and increasing overall productivity in the clearing and processing of trades.

Meanwhile, the growing requirements for data, especially in the ESG space, have resulted in clients requiring their asset service providers to source, scrub, and store data for them in digital format.

The need to file new reports required by regulators within a very narrow timeframe has pushed asset service providers to make available dedicated reporting portals that require a high degree of transparency and efficiency.

It is in this context that we are announcing the winners of the Best Subcustodian, Best Domestic Custodian, Best Fund Administrator - Retail Funds, Best Fund Administrator - Private Equity/Venture Capital for North Asia, Southeast Asia & Australia, South Asia, and the Middle East, and Best Custody Specialists, Best in Escrow, and Best Transfer Agent in Asia and Africa. These form part of The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards for Institutional Investors, ETFs, and Asset Servicing Providers 2023.

BEST SUBCUSTODIAN, NORTH ASIA

HONG KONG

HSBC

HSBC achieved organic growth from existing custody clients with new mandates in 2022. It completed the migration from a competitor of a regional insurance mandate, successfully modernized third-party clearing for a broker client, and completed clearing and settlement for exchange-traded funds under the new ETF Connect scheme.          

JAPAN

HSBC

HSBC gained market share in Japan despite the challenging market conditions through a combination of new client onboarding and organic growth.

SOUTH KOREA

HSBC

HSBC in Korea successfully onboarded incremental assets, increasing its AUC by 15% for bonds, 46% for equities, and 40% for bonds held by foreign investors. 

TAIWAN

Citi

Citi Taiwan remains focused on servicing institutional clients and continues to grow its securities services franchise in Taiwan. With its market-leading position, Citi Taiwan is often considered a “go-to” bank for market consultation, and regularly conducts direct dialogues with market players and regulators.

BEST SUBCUSTODIAN, ASEAN/AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

HSBC

HSBC remains the best subcustodian in Australia in terms of business growth, leadership and advocacy, and product innovation. It has sustained a 24% growth in AUC over the last five years and maintained a 70% market share.

INDONESIA

Winner

HSBC

HSBC Indonesia grew its client investors by 31% in 2022 from the previous year. The number of its mandates increased by 40% during the period on the back of fund mandates from insurance companies and pension funds.

Highly Commended

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered Indonesia saw its AUC expand by 9%, enabling it to maintain its 21% market share. The bank accounted for about 40% of the fund transaction volumes and 30% of the overall transaction volumes in the market in 2022.

MALAYSIA

Winner

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered remains the only custodian bank to actively offer a comprehensive suite of APIs for securities services, including for trade status and holdings, client holdings, market newsflashes, fund services, trade initiation, and corporate actions. It is also active in thought leadership and sustainability.

Highly Commended

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank displayed its resilience by maintaining a market share of 48% in private retirement schemes, 25% in ETFs, 20% in wholesale funds, and 12% in unit trust funds.

PHILIPPINES

Standard Chartered

In 2022 Standard Chartered grew its AUC in the Philippines by 56% on the back of a significant global custodian mandate, which was migrated in the fourth quarter. It continues to win new mandates from leading banks, insurers and asset managers.

SINGAPORE

Winner

DBS

DBS remains the dominant subcustodian in Singapore, servicing its global custody clients with the highest levels of automation, regulatory support, and thought leadership.

Highly Commended

Standard Chartered

In Singapore, Standard Chartered secured several new mandates despite the challenging market conditions. Although the bank saw a slight decline in AUC from its 2021 level, its AUC remains much higher than in the years prior.

THAILAND

Winner

HSBC

HSBC Thailand won a major mandate in 2022, resulting in a substantial increase in its AUC despite the challenging market conditions. It continues expanding its digital channels while playing a key role in providing industry representation to regulators to ensure that the interests of its clients are promoted.

Highly Commended

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered remains a leading player in Thailand in the subcustody business, both in traditional fund management and digitalization. It has also developed and launched a local API as a single application to streamline local clients’ instructions for more direct straight-through processing.

VIETNAM

HSBC

HSBC has retained its leading market position, having significantly grown its transaction volumes despite intense market competition.

BEST SUBCUSTODIAN, SOUTH ASIA

BANGLADESH

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered continues to be the dominant subcustodian in Bangladesh, with a 43% market share in equities and 57% in fixed income. It also accounts for more than half of the market share in terms of AUC and 80% in terms of foreign trade volumes.

INDIA

Winner

HSBC

HSBC remains the leading subcustodian in India, winning new mandates and maintaining huge volumes of assets from previous mandates. It also enjoys an excellent reputation among global clients who continue to invest in this market.

Highly Commended

Citi

Citi India won a number of marquee mandates in 2022, illustrating the strength and capabilities of its subcustody franchise while demonstrating its deep understanding of the complexities of the Indian market.

PAKISTAN

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered remains the dominant subcustodian in Pakistan despite a sharp decline in its AUM due to MSCI’s reclassification of Pakistan as a frontier market from being an emerging market. It has retained all its mandates, demonstrating clients’ continued confidence in its products and services.

SRI LANKA

Standard Chartered

Despite the extremely challenging market conditions, Standard Chartered continues to be among the leading subcustodians in Sri Lanka. It is the only bank offering digital platforms in Sri Lanka, with its award-winning online banking platform Straight2Bank cited as a transaction execution model.

BEST DOMESTIC CUSTODIAN

BANGLADESH

Standard Chartered

In 2022 Standard Chartered continued to extend its custody offering to five local employee funds of global corporates, who were looking for solutions to invest the money. The bank’s custody product allowed the funds to gain access to investment options in government securities through its broader financial markets offering.

INDIA

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank remains the leading domestic custodian bank in India as evidenced by its ability to win a key mandate previously awarded to a strong domestic competitor.

INDONESIA

Standard Chartered

In 2022 Standard Chartered piloted the implementation of multi-manager fund features in Indonesia. The bank ranks number one in the domestic fund and insurance segments based on assets under administration, with its total business growing by 9% in terms of AUC.

MALAYSIA

Winner

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank provides fund services to 19 fund managers in Malaysia. The bank has a market share of 48% in private retirement schemes, 25% in ETFs, 20% in wholesale funds, and 12% in unit trust funds.

Highly Commended

Maybank

Maybank remains the leading homegrown custodian in Malaysia. In 2022 it posted a healthy growth of 3.63% in local currency despite a challenging global market environment. Its AUC is allocated to various asset classes across a wide client base, which includes financial institutions, asset managers, insurance companies, trustees, non-financial institutions, and corporates.

PHILIPPINES

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is taking an active role in the transition of the Philippine equity market to T+2. In collaboration with ASIFMA (Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association), Deutsche Bank, the Philippine Stock Exchange, and the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines launched an information-sharing programme to learn from the experiences of other markets in transitioning to T+2 to ensure an efficient process by avoiding known issues and adopting best practices.

QATAR

HSBC

With a view to developing the domestic custody market, HSBC is leading efforts to implement the first stock lending and borrowing transaction and is playing a key role in the digitization and expansion of the product suite and sustainability agenda of the Qatar Stock Exchange.

SAUDI ARABIA

HSBC

HSBC is playing a key role in enhancing the custody model in Saudi Arabia through the implementation of an independent custody model. The bank is the first asset service provider to offer, operate and settle in the independent custody model in the market.

SINGAPORE

DBS

DBS remains the leading domestic custodian in Singapore with growth coming from new mandates amid a difficult macro environment. It has been winning larger and better value deals as its ramps up its service offerings.

SOUTH KOREA

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered is one of the key trustee service providers in the market, with a 20% increase in the asset value of local trustee funds in 2022. It remains a market leader in trustee services, with a proactive engagement in investment execution.

SRI LANKA

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank AG Colombo Branch was the preferred custodian for newly licensed mutual funds in 2022 as fund managers looked to take advantage of the renewed interest in the equities market by domestic clients.

TAIWAN

CTBC

CTBC remains the leading domestic custodian bank with an 11% market share. It is the first choice (or even the only choice) of professional foreign institutional investors for NTD liquidity financing.

THAILAND

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered has enhanced its fund order processing service for local asset management companies, automating their investments in cross-border master funds. It has also worked extensively with Thailand Securities Depository Co Ltd to enable e-proxy voting and e-dividends via Bahtnet, which became essential during the pandemic.

VIETNAM

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered was the first to successfully integrate with fintech payment partners Mobile Wallet and 24/7 IBFT, and a leading asset manager to facilitate straight-through processing and near-real-time subscription and redemption via a wide range of payment channels.

BEST FUND ADMINISTRATOR, RETAIL FUNDS

BAHRAIN

HSBC

HSBC is the only fund administrator in Bahrain that provides reporting solutions for clients across multiple products, a customised interface, and an app for NAV oversight.

HONG KONG

Winner

HSBC

HSBC successfully launched API connectivity with a leading consultancy for data transfers, streamlining the process and reducing risks.

Highly Commended

BOCI-Prudential Trustee

BOCI-Prudential Trustee provides fund administration services to over 210 funds distributing in the global markets. It supports quantitative funds with very high volumes of transactions, and was able to deliver 28 brand-new customized reports in six months, ranging from consolidated financial reporting to compliance and risk management reporting.

INDIA

HSBC

HSBC India provides customized reporting, expense administration, support for regulatory compliance, strong interface connectivity, and flexible platforms for its asset management clients.

INDONESIA

HSBC

HSBC Indonesia continues to support the organic growth of fund managers. In 2022 it saw the number of its mandates grow by 40% from the previous year, mainly from insurers and pension funds.

MALAYSIA

Deutsche Bank

In 2022 Deutsche Bank organized and led a closed-door discussion on issues concerning Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) among members of the Association of Trust Companies Malaysia. CIS – including unit trust funds, wholesale funds and private retirement schemes – continued to grow in 2022 after having been affected by the pandemic in previous years.

PHILIPPINES

HSBC

Despite the challenging market conditions, HSBC Philippines saw its fund administration business grow by 4% in AUA and 20% in the number of funds in 2022.

QATAR

HSBC

HSBC Qatar maintains a sizeable fund administration clientele by delivering best-in-class solutions, ESG reporting services, and offering a comprehensive suite of online and real-time solutions through HSBCnet.

SAUDI ARABIA

HSBC

In 2022 HSBC increased its focus on domestic institutions by strengthening its fund administration proposition through enhanced client services and by leveraging its global network. HSBC is expanding its local team in Riyadh and streamlining its operations by reducing manual intervention and driving its digital agenda.

SINGAPORE

HSBC

In 2022 HSBC supported existing clients who were launching new VCC (variable capital company) sub-funds within the VCC umbrella and new VCC entities. It also helped local asset managers and asset owners launch Cayman-domiciled entities.

SRI LANKA

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank remains the preferred fund administrator for newly licensed mutual funds as fund managers look to take advantage of the renewed interest in the equities market by domestic investors.

TAIWAN

HSBC

In 2022 HSBC Taiwan supported a substantial number of new fund launches with over US$2 billion in new AUA. It continued to service clients in fund accounting and transfer agency, where it has 80-85% of the outsourced wallet in terms of AUA.

THAILAND

HSBC

HSBC Thailand won a sizeable fund administration mandate together with a custody mandate from a public sector client. It also successfully launched the first mutual fund investing in private equity in the domestic market via a VCC structure.

VIETNAM

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered is the only custodian bank in Vietnam to implement an integrated solution for straight-through processing for securities services data transmissions for non-SWIFT clients and to extend API solutions for real-time delivery on the status of settlement instructions and client holdings.

Best Fund Administrator, Private Equity/Venture Capital, Hong Kong, Winner

Best Fund Administrator, Private Equity/Venture Capital, Singapore, Winner

Linnovate Partners

Established in 2016, Linnovate Partners has grown to become a major disruptor in providing fund administration services to private equity/venture capital funds in Hong Kong and Singapore. It leverages technology to enhance its services and consultancy to clients. The team owes its business growth to maintaining good relationships with existing clients while onboarding new clients. Its service capabilities have been endorsed by clients through direct conversations with The Asset.

Best Fund Administrator, Private Equity/Venture Capital, Hong Kong, Highly Commended

Best Fund Administrator, Private Equity/Venture Capital, Singapore, Highly Commended

SS&C Technologies

As one of the largest global providers of fund administration services to alternative managers, SS&C Technologies has been growing the number of its clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. With a long history of providing quality fund services in the region, SS&C Technologies has built out a wide spectrum of services to its clients in the two markets.

Best Custody Specialist, Digital Assets, Asia

DBS

DBS continues to be the leader in providing custodian services for digital assets in Asia. During the review period for the awards, the bank demonstrated its capabilities through case studies, especially in terms of system stability, service level, security and compliance. It has received strong endorsements from clients.

Best Custody Specialist, Africa

Standard Chartered

With extensive coverage in Africa, Standard Chartered has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability in the region. Last year the bank launched end-to-end automation of billing invoices for global clients in several African markets. It has also continued to support industry development in the region.

Best Custody Specialist, Institutional, Asia

Northern Trust

Northern Trust continues to be the leader in servicing institutional clients in Asia. Leveraging its strong technological foundation and next-generation operational solutions, Northern Trust has been meeting client requirements with a high degree of efficiency, particularly when it comes to scalability and complexity.

Best in Escrow, Asia

HSBC

With solid digital capability, HSBC continues to provide services of high quality to clients in Asia. In 2022, the bank enhanced its escrow proposition by expanding escrow and account bank solutions in Taiwan and also expanded its remittance agency solution in China. The bank also demonstrated its capabilities through case studies and client testimonials.

Best Transfer Agent, Asia

HSBC

As one of the major transfer agents (TA) in Asia, HSBC continues to show strong commitment to the region with key business development in markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Based on its single TA platform, the bank provides tailored solutions and continues to onboard new clients.

Please click here for the list of winners of the Asset Sevicing Awards. 

Please click here for the list of winners of the Custody Specialist Awards.

To join the in-person annual celebratory dinner on June 19, 2023 in Hong Kong, please contact us at celebrate@theasset.com.

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