The world's five largest banks are all based in Asia, and China-headquartered banks made up the top four, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence's latest global bank rankings.
S&P Global Market Intelligence ranks the largest banks in the world by converting their total assets into U.S. dollars using the exchange rate as of the end of the period measured. Most banks were ranked by total assets as of Dec. 31, 2015. The previous ranking was published in August 2015 and ranked most banks by total assets as of March 31, 2015.
London-based HSBC Holdings Plc fell to No. 6 from No. 4 in the previous ranking; the company's total assets dropped to $2.410 trillion from $2.670 trillion. In the previous ranking, HSBC was the only bank in the top five that was not headquartered in China, but in the current ranking, Tokyo's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. took that designation, jumping three spots to No. 5 from No. 8.
The three largest banks in the world continued to be Beijing-based Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., with total year-end 2015 assets calculated at $3.421 trillion, $2.826 trillion and $2.740 trillion, respectively. Bank of China, which is also based in Beijing, rose to No. 4 from No. 5 in the previous ranking, with total assets of $2.590 trillion.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. continued to be the largest U.S.-based bank despite falling by one spot to No. 7 in the global ranking, but it would rank No. 2 if it followed the same accounting principles as the Chinese banks. U.S. banks report their financials under U.S. GAAP, while the largest Chinese banks report under the IFRS accounting principle. Under U.S. GAAP, banks report the net amount of derivative assets on their balance sheets, while IFRS companies must report the gross amount of derivative assets. If JPMorgan filed under IFRS, S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates it would add assets of $902.20 billion, bringing its total assets to $3.254 trillion and making it the second-largest bank in the world. S&P Global Market Intelligence did not perform the same analysis on banks that report under Japanese GAAP or other types of GAAP.