At the time these awards were being decided, Goldman Sachs was topping the M&A league table. This is an outstanding achievement considering it was the only major bank not to be involved in the gargantuan M&A deal of the year, PCCW/HKT.

However, it is an ironic mark of Goldman's M&A abilities that it was thanks to the firm that the transaction even happened at all. PCCW would never have had the opportunity to launch its LBO for HKT if Goldman had not brought SingTel to the table in the first place. Aside from PCCW/HKT, Goldman has advised on seven of the top 25 deals announced this year and eight of those completed. It has worked on seven deals over $1 billion, and completed 16 deals for a total of $51.6 billion. What is truly amazing is its geographical breadth. It has executed deals in 10 Asian countries this year and has done tremendous repeat business ? the true mark of quality. For example, it advised TSMC on its $6.4 billion acquisition of Worldwide Semiconductor and on the $2.7 billion deal between TSMC and TSMC-Acer.

Its telecoms expertise obviously helps, and it is the pre-eminent advisor to one of Asia's top clients, China Mobile, whom it helped with the $34 billion acquisition of seven Mainland mobile networks and with the $2.5 billion investment from Vodafone.

And with Hutchison Whampoa, another of Asia's best clients, it has had nine advisory roles since 1997, including two this year.

Its commitment to the regional M&A business was also underlined when it brought in Michael Carr. Carr, who was co-head of M&A in the US, is now running investment banking, and his relocation to the region is a significant investment of human capital. The addition of rainmaker Tim Freshwater, as chairman of the investment banking division, further underlines this point.

áSee other winners...