Banks in Hong Kong have been cutting staff from their capital markets teams, but one bank is bucking the trend.
ICBCI, the international investment banking arm of China’s largest lender, International and Commercial Bank of China, has recruited a new head of equity capital markets.
The bank has hired Kenneth Chan from rival Bocom International to plug a gap in its senior leadership team. Sources say that ICBCI has been looking for a new head of ECM in Hong Kong for a while.
Chan spent four years at Bocom, latterly as head of ECM. Prior to that, he was an executive director China Merchant Securities, according to his LinkedIn profile. His recruitment bucks a trend at many banks which are cutting staff on the back of weak deal volumes.
Banks are cutting staff across equity and debt capital markets as offshore underwriting volumes have collapsed. UBS and HSBC are the latest banks to have cut back DCM staff in Hong Kong following a 45% slump in off-shore bond market sales. Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have also cut jobs in advisory and capital markets. “The cutting will continue,” said one Hong Kong-based headhunter.
In June, Haitong international, CMBI and Guotai Junan Securities all cut jobs in Hong Kong in response to the downturn, but by and large Chinese banks are performing better than rivals because they dominate in the market for mainland listings.
Western banks are facing a test of their nerve amid rising US-China tensions and the pressure to cut costs. Credit Suisse is set to push ahead with recruitment plans in mainland China despite an apparent plan by new CEO Ulrich Körner to cut thousands of jobs in the investment bank globally, with an announcement expected in next month. Benjamin Cavalli, head of its Asia Pacific wealth management business, told Reuters that China remains a “long-term play for us” and is a core market for the provision of investment banking services to its wealth management clients.
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