This year, the Best Foreign Exchange House Award goes to HSBC. This was not an easy decision, as the competition was very tough.

We tried to focus on specific areas of forex competence such as innovativeness and problem solving, quality of advice, pricing, internet strategy, straight-through processing (STP) capability, derivatives, Asian presence, and development of markets in coordination with regulators.

Having the largest dealing room in Asia located in Hong Kong, and with over 19 dealings rooms in all, helps HSBC reach a greater segment of the market. The Asia Pacific president of a Scandinavian power generator manufacturer cited the round the clock availability of HSBC: ?When you add a night desk to the picture that treats you like a king, you are truly talking about a bank that is there for you, 24 hours a day.?

HSBC won the popular vote in our web site?s poll, and gained well over 100 votes. While unofficial, the results required the contact details of the voters to avoid any rigging. A sample of the voters was telephoned to get their endorsement in person.

?I regard HSBC as a confidential counterpart,? says the treasury officer from a Korean power concern. ?And they provide reliable market news and information.?

A Malaysian client said: ?They always provide ?unbelievable? competitive rates.?

A Hong Kong corporate client cited the team approach: ?Monica Chan and her team are at all times most helpful, informative and quick in their response and execution of instructions.?

A major Indonesian company officer said: ?Their professionalism is outstanding. They give good pricing, fast response, and are friendly people.?

A Hong Kong professional said: ?I really admire their services, especially the hedging strategies they introduce for our foreign currency exposures. Their rate quotes are efficient and always a bit better than others.?

HSBC received votes and testimonials from every country in Asia ? from India to Hong Kong, where obviously HSBC has a historical stranglehold on the foreign exchange business. With an estimated market share of 16% in Asia and about 79% of transactions below $1 billion, HSBC performed relatively stronger than the other banks.

Late last year, HSBC won the Hong Kong Monetary Authority?s mandate to handle the US dollar clearing system for the territory, one of the two key financial centres in Asia.

This category is definitely one of the most highly contested of all our awards ? especially given the strength of Citibank ? and having seen the battle this year, the winner cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

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