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 in Risk magazine, and 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 category:
Derivatives house of the year:
Dealers nominating themselves for derivatives house of the year should be strong across a number of asset classes. Submissions should include case studies detailing how the dealer has best met the needs of clients. Tactical and strategic adaptation to regulatory and market changes will be important, as will discussion of new technology initiatives – and risk management, as always, is a key criterion. Submissions must 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.
- 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
Submissions should include case studies and notable 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.
Flow market-maker of the year:
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 and rates. 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
- Credit portfolio manager of the year
- Sovereign risk 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. 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.
- Investment house of the year
- Hedge fund of the year
Open to discretionary or quant managers, as well as those who blend the two approaches, these awards recognises investing success and innovation in traditional and alternative investing. Performance is one criterion, but the sophistication and effectiveness of a firm’s risk management is another important factor. 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.
- 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.
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, etc.
- 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.
- Derivatives client clearer of the year
This category recognises the client clearing business in listed and/or OTC derivatives markets – bank 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
An award for FX prime brokers. 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.
- Hedging advisor of the year
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
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.
- 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 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.
- Innovation in execution
- Innovation in risk management
- Innovation in technology
These categories are open to all – banks, buy-side firms, clearing houses, exchanges, technology companies – and will highlight creativity in the financial industry. Submissions should focus on a single new product, service, technology or risk practice and explain how it has helped the firm, its clients or the market at large. The winners may also be selected from pitches in other categories.
- 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 (entry deadline for this awards: August 31, 2020)
- 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 papers published in Risk over the previous 12 months and their authors. 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 is chosen by a panel of leading quants, more information on this award can be found here.