World's 50 Safest Banks: Global Finance World's Rankings ~ market folly

Monday, July 6, 2009

World's 50 Safest Banks: Global Finance World's Rankings

While this list was released back in March 0f 2009, we wanted to publish it up as we forgot to at the time. Global Finance World publishes a list of the World's 50 Safest Banks and they edited it mid-year which reflects the turmoil within the financial markets worldwide. Interesting tidbits regarding the list: Only 4 American banks make the list, none of which are in the top 10. The closest is Wells Fargo (WFC) at 21st. This will certainly draw much criticism as there are many skeptics out there regarding Wells Fargo's stability.

Another interesting fact is that all of the major Canadian banks are included in the top 50, which confirms what many strategists and prominent investors have been speaking of throughout the turmoil. They have said that if you want to own banks at all, then your best bet is a Canadian entity. Specifically, Dennis Gartman has often noted his preference of Canadian banks. In addition to a large amount of Canadian banks on the list, there is quite a cluster of Australian banks within the top 25. Lastly, we'd also like to highlight the large amount of German banks on the list, especially ranked within the top 10.

Embedded below is the publication. (RSS & Email readers will need to come to the blog to view the embedded document). Here is Global Finance World's 50 Safest Banks list:

Now, while rankings lists like these might be fine and dandy, we're inserting an asterisk next to this one. Why? Well, because upon examination of the criteria for ranking, we were a bit surprised. Global Finance World ranked the banks according to long-term credit ratings and total assets. They used ratings from Moody's, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch. And there is your red flag right there. They are compiling a list based on ratings from the ratings agencies... the same ratings agencies that have appalled many of us with their reactionary movements and downgrades. What good are the ratings agencies if they can't even provide accurate ratings to give us a barometer as to the health of various institutions? But, we digress. We've attached the list for your perusal (or comic relief) anyways.

As always, take things like this with a nice grain of salt.

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