Goldman Sachs takes crown in IFR awards

LONDON Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:21am EST

The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 11, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

LONDON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was named "Bank of the Year" for 2013 by International Financing Review (IFR) on Friday, which praised the U.S. investment bank's ability to build market share in the face of a tough economic and regulatory landscape.

This year has been another difficult one for banks, as they battled grim investment bank revenues, a mixed economic backdrop and an ever-growing list of regulatory and legal concerns, including record fines over interest rate rigging and probes into alleged foreign exchange market manipulation.

IFR said it has been especially difficult for Goldman because it is a "lightning rod" for the public backlash against the banking industry, but the bank's continued focus on clients had delivered "truly impressive" market-share gains in advisory and financing.

In the IFR awards year, Goldman's share of mergers and acquisitions stood at 39.5 percent in the U.S. and 36 percent in Europe. It ranked first in equity capital markets globally, with market share up to 11.3 percent from 8.4 percent.

The firm advised on several of the year's largest and most complex transactions, including the Vodafone's (VOD.L) $130 billion sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications (VZ.N).

Speaking to IFR, Goldman's Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein downplayed the bank's performance.

"Given the context and the legacy issues we're working through, it's hard for me to thump my chest over anything other than maintaining focus where other people have found it hard to maintain focus," Blankfein said.

The awards, to be handed out in January, are among the most coveted in the banking industry.

To be considered for an award, banks must make a pitch, often delivered by its most senior bankers, to the IFR editorial board.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) recently stopped pitching for these and other awards, after deciding the time and effort dedicated to the awards process would be better spent elsewhere.

Goldman also took home the prize for top equity house, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) received three awards: top bond house, top loan house and top high-yield bond house.

Deutsche Bank raised more debt for more issuers from more countries than ever before, acting for clients in 70 jurisdictions across 24 currencies and on deals of all types, ranging from high-grade to high-yield, IFR said.

Its complex event-driven deals and work on developing the global credit market won it the loan house accolade, IFR added.

Other winners included Citigroup (C.N), which won two awards, for top derivatives house and top emerging market bond house. Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) bagged the prize for structured finance.

U.S. investment bank Houlihan Lokey was named top restructuring adviser thanks to its work on a string of assignments for both creditors and debtors in a relatively quiet period for restructuring.

Issuer of the year went to Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), after it raised more than 18 billion euros ($24.76 billion) of unsecured and asset-backed bonds in the last year.

IFR is part of Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO).

(For a full list of winners, click here: here)

(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Steve Slater and Elaine Hardcastle)