2008 UK Trustee / Depositary Survey Results

HSBC wins 3 years running


HSBC came top for the third year running in the annual R & M UK trustee and depositary services survey, with overall scores declining although both HSBC and second placed J P Morgan saw theirs improve.
“This is a significant achievement given the fact that the survey was undertaken between September and November, just as the markets were going through some of the most turbulent times in recent memory,” said Richard Hogsflesh, R & M’s managing director. “Many respondents commented on how professionally their supplier coped with events, which must demonstrate the robustness of the investment industry’s policing system.”
One of HSBC’s clients commented “HSBC are well deserving of the top spot they have occupied for the last few years.” Another observed that “Investment & Borrowing Power reviews are performed by HSBC, however other providers are or have moved to more automated systems.” Despite not having moved to one themselves just yet, they still manage to achieve the top slot in the survey.
JP Morgan, responsible for nearly 50% of the responses by asset value, also received some extremely positive comments from clients, one in particular expressing the wish that the trustee / depositary service should, “become more independent of the custody links to build a suitable position in the marketplace,” alluding perhaps to the service model RBS has adopted by offering fiduciary services without being linked to the underlying custody. JP Morgan also came first in the “over £1bn” category.
The biggest decline was made by State Street, moving from 5th to 6th place and switching position with BNY Mellon who saw an improvement in their score of 0.11. Most of BNYM’s clients are happy with the service they receive but there are one or two who believe there is still room for improvement to bring the bank up to the same level as others.
 Amongst comments made on State Street’s performance it was noted by several respondents that it held no technical seminars or meetings for their clients, unlike other providers. It was also noted that some changes had taken place amongst the bank’s personnel.
RBS also saw a modest decline in its overall score. Several respondents commented that its compliance monitoring system for investments and borrowing powers was outdated and needed improvement. Others however praised it for its capabilities – “RBS have the operational model that other Trustees should try to adopt,” was one comment.
Last but not least to be mentioned is Citigroup who have a small but loyal group of clients and also improved their score over last year. “Overall it is a much improved service which has grown and they have listened to our requests over the last 18 months or so. A very proactive Depositary which has built up a sound base of staff who know what they are doing and are supportive of change and developments.”
The survey was conducted in September and October 2007. The questionnaire covered 29 different aspects of service provided and a scoring system of 1 (low) to 7 (high) was used.
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