Fine margins in the Awards for Excellence’s EMEA category

Skip to:

The EMEA region encompasses a huge chunk of the international trade finance market. Therefore it is no surprise that nominations for awards were so closely contested and rich in diversity. 

The region is home to big commodity traders such as Trafigura and Glencore but also some of the major players in commodity and export finance. This includes ING, which took the title as the region’s best commodity finance bank, and BNP Paribas, which can claim to be the region’s top trade bank in Western Europe this year.

But it is not just about the international players. Local groups are having an increasingly bigger stake in the EMEA trade finance market. First Gulf Bank is a prime example, taking the prize for Best Islamic Trade Finance Bank EMEA.

The region’s top prize of Best Overall Trade Finance Bank was won by HSBC, which narrowly beat off a strong challenge from last year’s winner Standard Chartered. The award is one of four for HSBC, which was also named Best Trade Advisor EMEA, Best Supply-Chain Finance Bank EMEA and Best trade bank in the Middle East and North Africa.

But HSBC missed out on award number five, as SMBC beat it to the race for Best Export Finance Arranger EMEA. Jonathan Joseph-Horne, SMBC global coordinator and head of export and agency finance, EMEA, commented: "We aim to support our clients whether they are EMEA based exporters selling to Latin America, Japanese or Korean exporters trading in Africa or the CIS, large scale project finance transactions in the Middle East importing from Asian suppliers, European renewables projects purchasing from their close neighbours, or pan-African agencies supporting the growth of their region through trade.”

There was no change in the country awards as Eco bank and Standard Bank retained their titles for Best Nigerian Trade Bank and Best South African Trade Bank respectively. 

On the ECA awards, Asian dominance  continued in the Middle East with Kexim taking home the trophy of Best ECA in the region.

The Best ECA in Africa was again won by Afreximbank. But, with increasing competition from the North American ECAs – US EX-Im and EDC – it will be interesting to see if it can hold off and succeed again next year. 

Sace took the award for Best ECA in Europe, shooting down the previous dominance of Euler Hermes. Norton Rose Fulbright retained its Best Trade Law Firm EMEA award but faced stiff competition. 

The ever-growing presence of Dentons in the Middle East means a battle for this award next year is very much on. With strong competition in a diverse market, none of this year’s winners are guaranteed to triumph again next year. But if they do manage to, it is a testament to their continued efforts to maintain dominance in a series of awards contested by fine margins.


Category  Winner Highly Commended
Best trade bank in Western Europe BNP Paribas ING
Best trade bank in Eastern Europe & CIS ING  Societe Generale
Best trade bank in the Middle East and North Africa HSBC Standard Chartered
Best trade bank in Sub-Saharan Africa Standard Chartered HSBC
Best South African trade bank Standard Bank HSBC
Best Nigerian trade bank Ecobank First Bank of Nigeria
Best trade bank in Russia/CIS Sberbank HSBC
Best commodity finance bank EMEA ING  Societe Generale
Best export finance arranger EMEA SMBC Citi
Best supply-chain finance bank EMEA HSBC Credit Agricole
Best trade law firm EMEA Norton Rose Fulbright Dentons
Best trade advisor EMEA HSBC Citi
Best trade insurer in EMEA Euler Hermes Atradius
Best trade insurance broker in EMEA Willis Aon
Best ECA Europe Sace EKN
Best DFI Europe EBRD KfW
Best ECA Middle East Kexim JBIC
Best DFI Middle East ITFC KfW
Best ECA Africa Afreximbank US Ex-Im
Best DFI Africa IFC ITFC
Best Islamic trade finance bank EMEA First Gulf Bank HSBC
Best overall trade finance bank EMEA HSBC Standard Chartered