EMEA is all about the MEA

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Arguably one of the most diverse geographies, the EMEA awards always offer a number of interesting trends. With the traditional European banks holding sway across continental Europe, the emergence of more local players in the Middle East and in Africa has changed dynamics in these markets.

While the European markets are only now recovering after a few turbulent years of crisis, the Middle East has been consistently vibrant, offering the kind of massive projects which are rarely seen outside of the region. And Africa presents some very exciting possibilities, which many are looking to capitalise on.

So far, the country specific awards in Africa focus on Nigeria and South Africa, but the emerging strength of the West African nations as trading hubs is becoming hard to ignore. These growing economies are bringing forward a new wave of banks and law firms into the international trade arena.

The rising strength of the local banks has helped to create some shifts at the top, most notably with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank taking the prize for Best Trade Bank in the Middle East and North Africa – an award which it lost out last year to Standard Chartered. Indicating the region’s growing importance, this category was the mostly hotly-contested award in the EMEA region.

The regional European categories allow some insight on this vastly diverse region.

Nordea scooped the prize for Best Trade Bank in the Nordics/Baltics, with Danske once again held back into the highly commended position. Equally, UniCredit showed it is a force to be reckoned with in the emerging exporting nations as it took the title of Best Trade Bank in Eastern Europe & CIS.

Thanks to its strong African connections, Standard Chartered has been able to post solid results, claiming success both across the national categories and also through its Islamic banking operations. The bank is one of the first to take advantage of the growing Islamic finance market in Africa, recently establishing its first operations on the ground in Kenya.

Standard Bank again exerted its strength in the African markets, taking the crown as both the Best Trade Bank in Sub-Saharan Africa and also the Best South African Trade Bank. And In Nigeria, Ecobank has again been named the country’s Best Trade Finance Bank.

Norton Rose Fulbright has demonstrated growing market strength since its merger last year, rising from second place to take the Best Trade Law Firm EMEA title.

The power and reach of the Asian export credit agencies has been felt in the Middle East again, with Japan’s JBIC and Korea’s Kexim able to steal the top places in the Best ECA – Middle East category.

Throughout the rest of the ECA categories, the story played out a little bit closer to home, with Afreximbank taking home the title of Best ECA in Africa, while Euler Hermes confidently took the prize for Best ECA in Europe.

Ultimately, the region’s top prize was awarded to Standard Chartered, which held off the challenges of Citi and HSBC to be named Best Overall Trade Finance Bank EMEA. It was a very successful year for the bank as it also won Best Supply-Chain Finance Bank EMEA and Best Commodity Finance Bank EMEA, as well as taking the Islamic finance prize. Such a vast range of wins serves to underline how diverse the bank’s operations are, as well as highlighting how versatile its competitors will need to be if they wish to be successful in this category in the future.

Awards for Excellence 2014: EMEA

Best trade bank in Western Europe

Citi

Société Générale

Deutsche Bank

Best trade bank in Nordics/Baltics

Nordea

Danske

SEB

Best trade bank in Eastern Europe & CIS

UniCredit

Citi

Raiffeisen Bank

Best trade bank in the Middle East and North Africa

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

HSBC

Standard Chartered

Best trade bank in sub-Saharan Africa

Standard Bank

Standard Chartered

Citi

Best South African trade bank

Standard Bank

NedBank

Standard Chartered

Best Nigerian trade bank

Ecobank

Citi

Standard Chartered

Best trade bank in Russia/CIS

Sberbank

Rosbank

VTB Bank

Best commodity finance bank EMEA

Standard Chartered

HSBC

Société Générale

Best export finance arranger EMEA

HSBC

Citi

Société Générale

Best supply-chain finance bank EMEA

Standard Chartered

HSBC

Citi

Best trade law firm EMEA

Norton Rose Fulbright

Allen & Overy

Clifford Chance

Best trade advisor EMEA

HSBC

Standard Chartered

Citi

Best trade insurer in EMEA

Euler Hermes

Coface

Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit

Best trade insurance broker in EMEA

Willis

Marsh

AON

Best ECA Europe

Euler Hermes

EKN

Coface

Best DFI Europe

EBRD

KfW

FMO

Best ECA Middle East

JBIC

Kexim

US Ex-Im

Best DFI Middle East

Islamic Trade Finance Corporation

Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit

IFC

Best ECA Africa

Afreximbank

US Ex-Im

ECIC

Best DFI Africa

African Development Bank

Proparco

IFC

Best Islamic trade finance bank (EMEA)

Standard Chartered

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates Islamic Bank

Best overall trade finance bank EMEA

Standard Chartered

Citi

HSBC

Best trade advisor in EMEA

HSBC

Standard Chartered

Citi