Global Finance have published an updated list of the 50 safest banks in the world. To the UK's shame, HSBC is the highest ranked entrant at number 19 and, apart from Nationwide Building Society, is the only UK entrant on the list. http://www.gfmag.com/index.php?idPage=1213

That this is a period of unprecedented upheaval is amply illustrated by the fact that this list includes 13 newcomers—which means more than one-fifth of last year’s safest banks have seen their prospects decline enough since mid-2008 to send them tumbling off the list. Among those new to the safest banks list is Finland’s Pohjola Bank, which vaulted into 28th place, with an aggregate credit rating score that matches Britain’s HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world. Also new to the list—and neck-and-neck in 37th place—are Singapore’s OCBC and United Overseas Bank, each achieving identical credit ratings to German banking giant Deutsche Bank and Canada’s Bank of Montreal.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top-10 has seen some significant changes, too. Newly arrived in the top echelon of the world’s safest banks, for example, are Royal Bank of Canada and Spain’s Banco Santander. Both are recognized for having taken a more cautious approach to risk than some of their competitors, and amid the turmoil of the past two years, that approach has clearly paid off.

Who would have guessed that Royal Bank of Canada would be so sexy. Now the list is heavily based on credit ratings from the likes of Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s who have proven to be a bunch of rogues but still, hooray for HSBC!

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