Leveraging on its global experience in mutual funds and pension funds, State Street has been moving gradually up the value chain to provide pre-trade services to clients, positioning itself in key Asian markets, particularly in the North East. KK Tse, the bank's managing director in Asia, has repeatedly made the point that State Street, while continuing to provide competitive custody service, will focus more on meeting fund managers' needs in the region.

Much of the groundwork has been laid in the past year by acquiring local expertise through either acquisitions or cooperation. The most significant strategic deal it has struck up in Asia this year perhaps is its alliance with ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), the largest bank in China, giving it a head start among competitors. Its amiable working relationship with some of the key government agencies in developing pension reform measures and open-ended funds market strategies also will benefit foreign investors in the long term. Taiwan, a market that is chaotic at the moment but with a brilliant outlook for fund managers, is also in State Street's eyes. And the company has been working hard to build bridges with local lobby groups such as the Pension Fund Association in Taiwan through organizing grass-root activities.

On maintaining its cutting edge servicing capabilities, the bank invests 20% of its operating budget in technology and regularly partners with companies that can offer advanced and integrated solutions to meet clients' needs.

Customers' satisfaction is indicated by the fact that 80% of its revenue growth comes from existing clients. For a customer-provider relationship to work, clients' understanding on how they can extract the best from the relationship is a vital element. By providing clients ongoing education and support and more customized product range, State Street has become a virtual extension of its clients' own network.

From the strategic positioning and client servicing's point of view, we feel State Street deserves this years Best Global Custodian Award.

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