The Risk Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious awards for firms and individuals involved in the global derivatives markets and in risk management.
The judging process takes three months, from the submission of pitch documents, through dozens of off-the-record meetings, and concludes with a due diligence phase in which clients are canvassed (also off the record) for their views on shortlisted firms.
All decisions are made by Risk’s editorial team – and each decision is explained in detail on Risk.net. Unlike the rest of our content, the awards articles are not paywalled and are free to read.
The awards will bring together a complete cross-section of the market: sell-side salespeople and traders, buy-side portfolio and risk managers, quants, exchanges, trading platforms and clearing houses, technology firms, non-bank liquidity providers, lawyers and more – recognising their achievements, and those of the industry as a whole.
- Derivatives house of the year
Submissions are not required for this award. To be eligible, dealers must enter at least two of the derivatives categories listed below. The firms with the strongest pitches across multiple derivatives categories will be shortlisted for derivatives house of the year.
- Interest rate derivatives house of the year
- Currency derivatives house of the year
- Equity derivatives house of the year
- Credit derivatives house of the year
- Inflation derivatives house of the year
- Structured products house of the year
These awards recognise strength in market-making and structuring across the main derivatives asset classes. Submissions should include granular detail on performance and risk management processes, as well as case studies and notable deals. Tactical and strategic adaptation to regulatory and market changes will be key, while technology initiatives are an increasingly important factor. All claims must be backed up with evidence and we will need at least five client references – they have often made the difference in deciding the winner.
- Flow market-maker of the year
This category recognises liquidity providers that quote in interdealer, dealer-to-client or all-to-all markets, and focus heavily on electronic and systematic market-making capabilities. Firms can pitch on the basis of strength in listed and OTC derivatives products, or cash market activity, across equities, foreign exchange, rates and crypto. Market access, volume, response times, ticket sizes and reliability during periods of market stress will all be considered – and must be backed up with data and client feedback. We will also need detail on how the firm manages risk. Submissions should include client references.
Risk management categories:
Risk management categories:
- Bank risk manager of the year
The focus of this award is primarily on market, counterparty, liquidity and other trading risks. Submissions should outline risk and capital management processes, policies and systems, and describe any improvements made to the risk and capital management functions at the firm over the past year. Particularly important is how teams have responded to regulatory and market changes and how they have contributed to strategy and performance. Ideally, the value of the risk function will be demonstrated in one or more case studies, showing how the firm has managed a particular source of exposure, anticipated or responded to a market move.
- Credit portfolio manager of the year
This award recognises achievements across the full breadth of credit portfolio management functions, from loan origination, portfolio structuring, analytics and risk management through to the use of market tools such as securitizations, credit insurance and credit default swaps to manage exposures. Submissions can focus on individual projects and deals or series of actions to improve CPM at an institution. Ideally, the value of the CPM function will be demonstrated in one or more case studies, showing how the firm has managed a particular source of exposure and anticipated or responded to changing credit conditions.
- Sovereign risk manager of the year
Awarded to public authorities that show skill and innovation in managing the national debt, often in difficult circumstances. Sound risk management, efficient issuance and the development and the maintenance of a well-functioning market for government securities are key considerations. While submissions are accepted, the shortlist is typically drawn up after conversations with government securities dealers and SSA desks.
- Investment house of the year
Open to asset managers and institutional investors – including pension funds and insurers – this award recognises success and innovation in traditional investing. Performance is one criterion, but product development and the sophistication and effectiveness of an organisation’s risk management are other important factors. Pitching firms will be judged on a wider range of considerations as well – how they are adjusting to new technology, changing investor expectations, and unusual market conditions.
- Hedge fund of the year
This award recognises success in alternative investing, with an emphasis on trading orientated strategies. Strong long-term performance is a must, but innovations in structuring, executing and risk-managing complex strategies will also be given due weight. Firms will also be judged on their ability to respond to changing investor needs and market conditions and deliver uncorrelated returns.
- Quant investment firm of the year
Firms pitching for this award must demonstrate success in applying evidence-based systematic investment techniques to deliver good risk-adjusted returns. The emphasis is on the firm’s approach and research – not only performance – and may highlight creativity, robustness, technical rigour or technological innovation.
Market structure categories:
Market structure categories:
- Exchange of the year
- Clearing house of the year
Our exchange and clearing house of the year should be able to boast a range of achievements – from volume growth to product or geographic expansion. Risk management and resilience will be key considerations, especially for clearers. Submissions should include details of processes and systems, technology initiatives and evidence of adaptation to regulatory and market changes.
- OTC trading platform of the year:
This category encompasses all OTC derivatives platforms – single-dealer, multi-dealer, Sef, MTF, aggregator. Pitching firms can highlight success in a range of ways: increased volumes, product or geographic scope, adaptation to regulatory change, popular or creative trading protocols or order types, reliable technology, take-up of data and analytics businesses, etc.
- Derivatives client clearer of the year
Client clearing businesses that handle listed and/or OTC derivatives are eligible for this award. Banks and non-bank providers are welcome to pitch. Submissions should focus on the sophistication and effectiveness of the firm’s risk and collateral management functions, as well as engagement with CCP, regulatory and client stakeholders on the development of the service, and the rules around it.
- Prime broker of the year
This award is for prime brokers across all asset classes. Interested parties can pitch in a single asset class – foreign exchange or equities, for example – or multiple ones. Pitches should focus on organisation and governance, risk management, pricing and financial resources consumption, technology, as well as the ability to support less vanilla client needs.
- Law firm of the year:
Firms pitching for this award should be able to show (and be willing to discuss in detail) a track record of work on derivatives- and risk-related cases/topics. This might include regulatory advice and input, product or deal structuring.
- Technology vendor of the year
Pitches are not required for the technology vendor of the year category – the winner will be one of the firms that has also won one or more categories in Risk’s separate Markets Technology Awards, and will be based on information gathered during that process.
- Lifetime achievement
This will be awarded to a person that has made a significant contribution to the development of the derivatives/risk management industry. The winner is selected from a shortlist drawn up by the editorial team, but nominations can also be made by the candidates themselves, by colleagues or by employers/customers. Nominations should outline why the candidate should win the lifetime achievement award and demonstrate their contribution to the development of risk transfer markets and/or risk management.
- Quant of the year
- Buy-side quant of the year
- Rising star in quant finance
These categories are a little different. For the Quant of the year award, Risk asks past and present contributors to the Cutting Edge section of the magazine to vote for the top quantitative paper over the previous 12 months. The winner of Buy-side quant of the year is chosen in the same way, from among contributors to the Cutting Edge Investments section.
The Rising star award recognises new talent in quant finance. To be eligible, individuals must have completed a PhD within the past four years and have no more than two years of experience working in the financial industry. Qualified candidates can enter by submitting a paper published after October 1, 2022 via the Risk awards website: https://www.riskawards.com/rising-star-quant-finance. The winner is chosen by a panel of leading quants.