This is the second year in which Structured Products has compiled awards specifically for the Americas, and it has to be said that the quality of pitches received far surpassed those of last year. We were suitably impressed by the tales of excellence and innovation in all categories and, thanks to the growing markets (in the US, Canada and Latin America), and an influx of new entrants, the Structured Products editorial team was left with some tough choices to make.
Our innovation of the year award was open to every company active in the structured products market - be they distributors, index providers or technology companies and so on. In this category, we looked for something that has really made the market sit up and take note. As such, it's the most competitive category.
Our structurer award for North America, meanwhile, was another particularly tough category, that was open to the banks that manufacture derivatives-based investment products, and incorporates all major asset classes, ranging from equity to credit to foreign exchange. The award for distributor of the year, North America was open to companies that sell these products to investors, whether at the retail or high-net-worth level.
For the Latin America markets, we decided to include an award (house of the year,Latin America) that was open to both distributors and structurers in the region. Other awards recognise excellence in various core functions, namely law, index provision, technology solutions and exchange services. If there is one underlying theme in these awards it would have to be client education. In their own way each winner has demonstrated a commitment to client education that should make their competitors sit up and take note.
Winners were chosen from a large field in every category, after careful consideration by the Structured Products editorial team. Over the past year, we have noted achievements across the Americas and asked market participants for their opinions on who is the best in the business. We took these comments on board, conducted our own research and devised a shortlist for each category. We then conducted interviews with the respective companies, spoke to their clients, and decided upon the winner in-house. Decisions were not made lightly and we carefully examined the strengths and weaknesses of every institution we spoke to.
It's important to note that we don't simply bestow awards on companies that happen to be the 'biggest'. Instead, we look for evidence of innovation in the form of novel product offerings, excellence in financial engineering, commitment to client education and so on. We also place weight on client feedback - particularly when we are considering manufacturers of derivatives-based investments.
There can be only one winner in each category, and we will not divulge the names of any shortlisted candidates. However, we appreciate the time that every shortlisted institution took to present their case to us.
On behalf of the Structured Products editorial team, I would like to congratulate all the winners, and encourage those who missed out to look forward to next year's awards.
- Awards were written by Paul Lyon and John Ferry.