Awards Categories


Our 2020 Awards Categories

There are 40 categories in the Risk Awards 2020, listed in full below, along with the judging criteria for each.
To find out more about the judging process, please click here

Derivatives house category:

  • Derivatives house of the year:

Dealers nominating themselves for derivatives house of the year should be strong in at least three asset classes. Case studies detailing how the dealer has best met the needs of clients should play a large part in the submissions. Tactical and strategic adaptation to regulatory change will be important, as will discussion of new technology initiatives - and risk management, as always, is a key criterion. Submissions have to include details of risk management processes and systems, how the firm reacted to difficult market conditions and to regulation, and granular detail on performance. We will require evidence to back up claims. In addition, customer references should be included - they have often made the difference in deciding the winner.

Market-making categories:

  • 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
  • Risk solutions house of the year

As above, submissions should include case studies and key deals. Firms should include details of risk management processes and systems, technology initiatives, engagement with and adaptation to regulatory change, and granular detail on performance. We will require evidence to back up claims. As well as meeting with the relevant heads of desk, we may also need to meet risk managers – market risk, counterparty risk, XVA – and may need a demonstration of risk systems. We will need client references, including names, numbers and email addresses. There's no limit to the number of categories dealers can make submissions in.

  • Innovation in execution (NEW)

The traditional derivatives market-making model is evolving, and this award has been launched to reflect that. Candidates could pitch an agency business, liquidity sourcing algos, pre- or post-trade TCA, execution advisory teams – or anything of that ilk. Pitches should explain why the topic is innovative and show how it either improves efficiency for the bank or helps clients.

Flow market-making categories:

  • Rates flow market-maker of the year
  • Currencies flow market-maker of the year
  • Equities flow market-maker of the year

These categories recognise dealers that quote in interdealer, dealer-to-client or all-to-all markets, and focus heavily on electronic and systematic market-making capabilities. Firms should pitch on the basis of strength in either listed or OTC derivatives products, but cash market activity will be considered as well. 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.

Individual awards:

  • 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 the market.

  • Quant of the year
  • Buy-side quant of the year

These two categories are a little different. The winners are decided by the editorial team of Risk, with the help of Risk contributors. 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.

  • Rising star in quant finance

The Rising star in quant finance award has been launched to recognise new talent in quantitative finance. It will be given to the author or authors who produce the paper which more closely matches the criteria of originality, relevance and applicability.

Please click here to find out about the eligibility rules and the selection process

Buy-side categories

  • Asset manager of the year
  • Hedge fund of the year

Open to discretionary or quant managers, as well as those who blend the two approaches, this award recognises investing success and innovation. Performance is one criterion, but not the most important. 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. The sophistication and effectiveness of the firm’s risk management framework will also be considered.

  • Quant investment firm of the year

This award is given in recognition of a firm’s 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.

  • Investment product of the year

This recognises an investment product that demonstrates innovation in meeting the investment and risk requirements of institutional investors.

  • Hedging advisor of the year (NEW)

An award for independent advice to derivatives users. Banks are not eligible for this award. Pitches should focus on how the advisor has helped its clients – a spread of capabilities should be described, from work on hedging programmes, to deal pricing and structuring, portfolio valuations or restructuring.

  • Research house of the year (NEW)

An award for bank research units or independent research houses. Pitches can focus on anything from the organisation and marketing of the business to the quality of research. The research output must focus on trading and investing strategy – not on macro research.

  • Buy-side risk manager of the year
  • Sovereign risk manager of the year
  • Insurer of the year

These awards are given for best practice in risk management. 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 business 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.

Risk management categories:

  • Bank risk manager of the year
  • Credit portfolio manager of the year

These awards recognise achievement by an institution’s risk function, not by an individual risk manager. The ‘bank risk manager’ award focuses primarily on market, counterparty, liquidity and other trading risks. Applicants should outline risk management processes, policies and systems, and describe any improvements made to the risk function over the past 12 months. The value of the function should be evidenced via one or more case studies showing how specific exposures have been managed during the past 12 months.


Market structure and support categories:

  • Exchange of the year
  • Exchange innovation of the year
  • Clearing house of the year
  • Clearing house innovation 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 – but risk management will be a key consideration for clearers. The innovation awards recognise creativity: pitching firms should select a single new product, service, technology change, or risk practice that has helped the firm and/or its users.

  • OTC client clearer of the year

This category is for the OTC client clearing businesses offered by dealers and other, non-dealer institutions. Submissions should focus on what the candidate has done to build its business this year, how it has engaged with stakeholders to shape the evolving OTC clearing space, and how its services are being received by clients.

  • Prime broker of the year (NEW)

An award for FX prime brokers. Pitches should focus on organisation and governance, pricing and financial resources consumption, technology, as well as the ability to support less vanilla client needs.

  • Interdealer broker of the year (NEW)

Brokers are reinventing themselves, and this award is designed to reflect that. Pitches should focus on the steps taken to ensure core broking businesses are sustainable, as well as (where appropriate) expansion into D2C broking, data and analytics, post-trade services and trading platforms. The award is open to IDBs of all sizes.

  • 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 IT, etc. The innovation award recognises creativity specifically: platforms should select one new development to highlight.

  • Structured product trading platform of the year (NEW)

Platforms that allow users to trade structured products with multiple dealers are eligible for this award. Candidates will be judged on volumes, growth, ease of use, dealer support and technology innovation. Each platform’s strategic vision is also important – candidates must have a clear picture on how this segment of the market will evolve and the role they will play.

  • OTC infrastructure service of the year:

This category recognises firms that provide services for the post-reform OTC markets. Portfolio compression or optimisation, trade reporting, margining, confirmations and reconciliations are just examples - any service designed to improve the efficiency of the market will be considered.

  • Law firm of the year:

Firms pitching for these awards should be able to show (and be willing to discuss in detail) a track record of work on derivatives- and risk-related cases/topics, including work related to post-crisis markets reform and/or prudential regulation.

Technology categories:

  • Technology vendor of the year
  • Fintech start-up 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 technology awards, and will be based on information gathered during that process.

Fintech startup is for firms that have been set up within the past three years – the business should provide some kind of service or product for front-office risk managers or the derivatives markets.