Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Stamford, CT USA — In addition to the oncoming slowdown in economic growth, volatile financial markets and a dangerous trade war between the United States and China, corporate banks competing in Asia are having to navigate another major challenge: keeping corporate clients happy despite an increasingly onerous documentation/compliance process across different jurisdictions in Asia and abroad. The challenge for bankers to fulfill compliance-related obligations and to manage client expectations on Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements continues to grow.
The roster of 2019 Greenwich Share Leaders in Asian Large Corporate Banking is a remarkably stable list, featuring No.1 ranked HSBC, perennial powerhouses Standard Chartered Bank and Citi, and relative up-and-comers DBS and ANZ. HSBC also tops the list of 2019 Greenwich Leaders in Asian Large Corporate Cash Management, followed by Citi, Standard Chartered, Bank of China, and DBS.
“These banks and other large competitors for corporate banking and cash management business are working hard to minimize a compliance burden that is starting to have a significant impact on the way CFOs, treasurers and other corporate executives view their banks,” says Gaurav Arora, Head of Asia Pacific at Greenwich Associates.
Regulatory compliance has been a tough issue for multinational companies operating in the fragmented Asian marketplace, but demands have actually intensified in the past decade as Asian regulators introduce new measures, and global banks have imported post-crisis rules from the United States and Europe into universal platforms.
As a result, companies across Asia are now elevating “Ease of Doing Business” on the list of criteria employed when assessing their banks and selecting new ones. “Of course pricing and specific capabilities will always be critical, but companies are becoming more open to switching their business to banks willing to hold their hands and walk them through the demanding process of KYC/compliance,” says Greenwich Associates Head of International Business Dr. Tobias Miarka.
The best approach is to eliminate some of the headaches with digital solutions. The traditional Asian corporate banking leaders, HSBC, Citi and Standard Chartered, are all investing heavily in digital platforms. Similarly, Asian leaders like DBS, which has positioned itself as the most digitally advanced alternative for large corporates, have made significant progress in this area. In fact, of all the corporate banks competing in the Asian region in 2018, only DBS Bank and ANZ Bank qualified for Greenwich Excellence Awards in “Communicating KYC Requirements to Clients,” and DBS alone takes home a Greenwich Excellence Award in the critical category of “Ease of Doing Business.”