The role of subcustodian banks is becoming more rigorous in response to regulations that impose new fiduciary responsibilities and far greater liabilities on global custodians.

Author: Gordon Platt
Project Coordinator: S.J. Yun

Introduction | Safety First

Custodians are now obliged to follow documented due-diligence procedures for selecting and monitoring subcustodians, who are being asked to perform additional fiduciary duties in protecting client assets.

Global custodians want to be sure that the assets entrusted to them by their clients are “fenced in” and carefully segregated at all times, in case of insolvency of a subcustodian. They need to know what happens to these assets if the subcustodian goes into liquidation.

Subcustodians are the eyes and ears on the ground for their clients, who need to be kept informed where the risks are in their local markets and what’s being done to manage and mitigate those risks.

Global custodians conduct regular, on-site reviews of their subcustodians to be sure they have the technology and processes in place to perform the tasks that are expected of them. Global anti-money-laundering, sanctions screening, know-your-customer (and your customer’s customers) regulations are changing what had been a relatively unregulated business. To help facilitate counterparty due diligence, SWIFT recently extended its KYC Registry to fund distributors and custodians. The registry enables financial institutions to exchange a standardized set of information required for KYC compliance.

In our 13th annual survey of the World’s Best Subcustodians, Global Finance selects the institutions that reliably provide the best asset servicing and protection in 84 countries and nine regions of the world. Our editors and reporters, with input from expert sources, have selected winners based on a series of objective and subjective criteria that include customer relations, quality of service, competitive pricing, smooth handling of exceptional items, technology platforms, post-settlement operations, backup systems and knowledge of local regulations and practices.

We also considered market share, commitment to the business, experience and number of staff, innovation, direct links to depositories, financial soundness and safety, and range of assets serviced. 



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