HSBC, Citicorp and Standard Chartered Bank provide the best sub-custody and securities clearing services, according an annual survey conducted by Global Custodian magazine in its 2000 Major Market Agent Bank Review. HSBC has held its position for 12 years, Standard Chartered at least three, while Citicorp entered the top category for the first time this year.

The survey measured the quality of service offered by agent banks to their cross-border clients across 24 markets. They also, for the first time, included information provided by domestic clients. Information for the survey was gathered from interviews and questionnaires, over a four-month period.

Within the "top" ranked category in Hong Kong, Citibank won a score of 5.65, Standard Chartered had a score of 5.62 while HSBC had a score of 5.53. The scores measured banks on settlement services, client reporting and account administration.

"The pantechnicon that is HSBC continues to cruise down the motorway, absorbing new business and losing none," the report said. "Somehow, despite its size, respondents still see it as "maintaining a strong client focus", notes one. Scores are down a tad, but not anything to worry about.

HSBC's sub-custody and securities business had $225 billion under management as of June 30, 2000. It provides services in 27 markets in Asia Pacific and the Middle East through six HSBC group members. The HSBC group as a whole has more than 6,000 offices in 81 countries and has total assets of $580 billion.

Citibank achieved the highest score this year having stopped "meandering along in commended territory" as was written in last year's survey. "Instead, as if to vex us, it has broken into a full sprint, winning top-rated status for the first time in Hong Kong. Revitalized leadership is partly to be credited here, as is Citibank's remorseless focus on broker/dealers that increasingly seem themselves as wanting very different services from their providers than do traditional custody clients."

Standard Chartered continued to get top ranking and is described by the magazine as "an eternal constant. Fees are modest, client service is extraordinary and client comment does not contain a single complaint. Scores are down, but only slightly and still remain the best in the market, remaining a mite ahead of its larger rival."