Published: February 2, 2018
Welcome to EMEA Finance’s Middle East Banking Awards 2017. This awards package celebrates ten years that we have recognize the achievements of the region’s retail and investment banks as well as their asset management and brokerage operations. These awards afford special attention through our Middle East-level winners to banks that are pushing the industry forward with new and innovative products and services, excelling in investment banking, increasing the number of banked individuals, and giving back to the community through their corporate social responsibility programmes and financial inclusion efforts.
This was the year of the bond and Sukuk, which is fitting since we have over the past ten years followed the steady and impressive growth of Middle East borrowers and Islamic finance. Of the top 25 CEEMEA bonds issued, the region accounted for 10 of these (including the three Sukuk facilities for Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco and Oman) totaling US$60bn. The top five issuances, Saudi’s conventional and Sukuk, Abu Dhabi’s, Kuwait’s and Oman’s bonds tallied an impressive US$44.5bn together alone.
In CEEMEA Sukuk facilities, Turkey and Nigeria’s sovereign Sukuks were the only two that were not from the region with total funds raised soaring to US$25bn. These financings reflected a nice mix of corporate, supranational and sovereign borrowers. Saudi’s US$9bn Sukuk facility dominated of course representing over one-third of the volume.
One banker effusively explained the record setting Middle East sovereign debt issuance to us in September as follows, “the demand for Middle East sovereign debt has felt like it’s unquenchable the past few months with the long end of the curve popular because of the yield on offer.”
Now the challenge for bankers, public-policy makers, and lawyers alike, is to develop and to help their clients issue more asset-backed debt and loans, and to evaluate the prospects for covered bonds for Middle East banks as well.
This year’s Middle East Banking Awards 2017 editorial feature covers banks operating in ten countries acknowledged for their achievements in the past year.
Our winners continue to exemplify the sound management of the market’s best banks, executive teams that are driving digitalization and navigating in new non-traditional terrain, companies and sovereigns are accessing local and international capital markets, unbanked populations have been reached – these and other accomplishments deserve recognition.
These firms have proved that banks can boost their profits during tough times by adapting to economic conditions. Strategies have included focusing on their core operations, implementing new technologies and looking at new markets as well as strengthening their risk management and lending procedures.
Here’s to the next 10 years, with all its likely ups and downs, challenges and opportunities. We know our winners have the grit to succeed.