UPDATE 1-Goldman Sachs takes crown in IFR awards

Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:15am EST
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LONDON Dec 13 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs was named "Bank of the Year" for 2013 by International Financing Review (IFR) on Friday, which praised the U.S. investment bank's ability to build market share in the face of a tough economic and regulatory landscape.

This year has been another difficult one for banks, as they battled grim investment bank revenues, a mixed economic backdrop and an ever-growing list of regulatory and legal concerns, including record fines over interest rate rigging and probes into alleged foreign exchange market manipulation.

IFR said it has been especially difficult for Goldman because it is a "lightning rod" for the public backlash against the banking industry, but the bank's continued focus on clients had delivered "truly impressive" market-share gains in advisory and financing.

In the IFR awards year, Goldman's share of mergers and acquisitions stood at 39.5 percent in the U.S. and 36 percent in Europe. It ranked first in equity capital markets globally, with market share up to 11.3 percent from 8.4 percent.

The firm advised on several of the year's largest and most complex transactions, including the Vodafone's $130 billion sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications.

Speaking to IFR, Goldman's Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein downplayed the bank's performance.

"Given the context and the legacy issues we're working through, it's hard for me to thump my chest over anything other than maintaining focus where other people have found it hard to maintain focus," Blankfein said.

The awards, to be handed out in January, are among the most coveted in the banking industry.   Continued...