Chase, Deutsche Excel, Scoop Top Asian Derivatives Awards

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HONG KONG--Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank have scooped the top slots in Asia Risk's fifth annual rankings of the top interbank FX derivatives players.

The two banks ranked neck-and-neck in votes. But though Deutsche fractionally pipped Chase to the post, Asia Risk, a sister publication to FX Week, awarded a tie. The magazine said that "when performance is so close any attempt to divide the two would require a value judgment".

The results of the rankings--following a poll of more than 300 banks, brokers and other derivatives dealers in Asia--show a complete shake-up in the ranking for top in the region.

"Those banks that retained their commitment to the Asia Pacific region have been rewarded for their loyalty," said Duncan Wood, the organizer of the poll. "While those banks that slashed their operations have been roundly snubbed."

The performance of the two banks has been stunning. Deutsche, for example, came top in eight individual categories including: best in interest rate swaps in AUD, best in currency swaps in AUD, INR, SGD, best in non-deliverable forwards in NTD and best in interest rate options in AUD.

Chase too was no slouch, coming top in seven categories including best in JPY currency swaps, cross-currency options and also FRAs and first equal with ABN Amro in exotic currency options.

Deutsche said that its superb performance--leaping from an also-ran in previous surveys--was due to a heavy investment in its staff. Boon Chye Loo, head of Asian OTC derivatives said: "We built up our team over three years ago. We've put an enormous effort into training up young traders."

Thomas Hoppe, head of global trading with Chase in Singapore attributed the bank's success in part to the demands of its shareholders and its commitment to the region. "US institutions set high hurdles for profitability. We have to be more focused than some of our competitors.

"When the crisis hit (in 1997), we didn't panic. We traded through it. We are absolutely committed to being a leading player and provider of liquidity."

But though the top five--HSBC came third, JP Morgan fourth and Standard Chartered fifth--can point to their rankings as tribute to their commitment to the region, the competition is set to intensify.

Citibank, for example, is widely tipped to make a determined bid to revive its fortunes in the region. JP Morgan, which slid from pole position for the past two years to fourth, may also have another difficult year, said Duncan Wood.

The final ratings of banks were based on a simple ranking of three points for first position in the poll, two points for second position and one point for a third.

This ranking method shows that several investment banks have lost ground this year. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Credit Suisse First Boston, Warburg Dillon Read and Goldman Sachs achieved 17 placings between them in 1998. This year they scraped five.

John Flint, regional head of trading at HSBC said these firms will find it hard to regain lost ground. "The commercial banks will win this game," he said. "And that's almost entirely because investment banks lack domestic books."

Flint said that this was a relatively new trend and had only become a factor in the last 18 months.

Top five houses in Asia interbank rankings

Place

Bank

No of top 3
placements

No of first
place wins

Overall
performance

1=

Deutsche Bank

19

8

41

1=

Chase Manhattan

19

7

40

3

HSBC

13

8

30

4

JP Morgan

11

4

22

5

Standard Chartered

8

4

16

Source: Asia Risk

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