There have been two markets to judge in the Americas over the past 12 months. The first - up until the summer - was a bull market that was probably one of the finest in the short history of structured products in the region; the second - from the summer onwards - has been the most volatile market since the early years of the noughties.
In the third year that we have noted achievements in the Americas, we have accounted for these swings, but obviously given extra weight to activity in the face of an adverse business climate. After all, it is more difficult to do business in straitened markets.
This year, we have added some awards and removed others. Rather than offer an award for innovation of the year, we have created the Structured Products House of the Year award for the Americas to reward structuring business across the US, Canada and Latin America, and including consideration for advances in education for distributors.
Our structurer awards were open to the banks who manufacturer derivatives-based investment products. These awards incorporate all major asset classes from credit to foreign exchange. Our distributor awards were open to the companies that sell these products to investors, whether that is at the retail or high-net-worth level.
Finally, specialist awards recognise innovations by companies dedicated to a particular core function. The categories for exchange of the year, index provider of the year and technology company of the year were particularly competitive.
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 and asked the market for their opinions as to who is the best in the business.
It's important to note that we don't simply award companies who happen to be the 'biggest'. Rather, we look for evidence of innovation in the form of novel product offerings, dedication to industry initiatives and excellence in financial engineering, and so on. We also place weight on client feedback - particularly in the structuring section.
There can only be 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.
Structured Products congratulates all the winners, and encourages those who missed out to look forward to next year's awards.
Award write-ups were compiled by Richard Jory, Sophia Morrell, Matt Cameron and Emma Dunkley.
Richard Jory, Editor.