GLOBAL - Swiss bank UBS fared badly in this year’s R&M Global Custody survey, while rival bank Pictet and US specialist Brown Brothers Harriman showed a return to form, dominating the Experts table.

Not only did UBS, last year’s winner, fail to get a broad enough geographic distribution of responses to qualify for this year’s survey, it also saw its scores slump in the areas where it did qualify.

The bank, together with JP Morgan and HSBC, saw a large decline in its custody score by asset managers - according to R&M Surveys, generally the most critical response group.

Citibank showed the biggest improvement.

Overall, RBC Dexia took the lead from UBS, which R&M Surveys attributed to the fact that pension funds are “typically most generous” with their scores.

UK pension funds were led by Northern Trust, dropping BNY Mellon into second place with a significant decline in score.

Considering the results of the survey, Richard Hogsflesh, managing director at R&M Surveys, questioned whether public companies, with their focus on quarterly results, were best placed to deal with a “long tail business such as custody”.

He added: “Overall, satisfaction levels have improved, but this is what one would expect. Global custody has evolved from the days when stocks and shares were in physical form, held in the safe, and overseas trades were communicated by telex.

“Today, most markets have dematerialised, and settlements, income collection and reporting are electronic. Service levels should have improved and should continue to improve. It’s all about investment in systems and people.”