The 18th annual R&M global custody survey shows a return to form for private Swiss bank Pictet and for US specialist Brown Brothers Harriman, both of whom dominate the Experts table and both of whom are, interestingly, partnerships. “Does this mean that public companies, with their focus on the short term and their quarterly results, are not best placed to deal with a long tail business such as custody?” said Richard Hogsflesh, managing director, R&M Surveys.
He went on to add “Overall, satisfaction levels have improved but this is what one would expect. Global custody has evolved from the days when stocks and shares were in physical form, held in the safe and overseas trades were communicated by telex. Today most markets have dematerialised and settlements, income collection and reporting are electronic. Service levels should have improved and should continue to improve. It’s all about investment in systems and people.”
The overall results show RBC Dexia taking the lead from last year’s winners UBS – who failed to get a broad enough geographic distribution of responses to qualify this year and saw their scores slump in the areas where they did qualify.
Typically pension funds are the most generous with their scores which is why we see Credit Suisse and RBC Dexia achieving a very high average, but there is a slightly different story amongst family offices.
Asset managers are the most critical response group and it can be seen that UBS have seen a large decline in their score along with JP Morgan and HSBC. The biggest improvement was from Citibank.
UK pension funds have been led by Northern Trust, pushing BNY Mellon into 2nd place and with a significant decline in score.
The US pension fund market seems to be where JP Morgan perform best, gaining ground to take first place.
A scoring system of 1 (low) to 7 (high) was used for all questions.