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Morning Coffee: Pro-democracy protests haven’t damaged Hong Kong as a financial hub (yet)

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A new Bloomberg Global Poll suggests that the current pro-democracy protests in and around Hong Kong’s financial district haven’t yet damaged the city’s standing as a financial service centre. An overwhelming majority (87%) of the survey’s 510 respondents said the Occupy movement hadn’t diverted financial activity away from Hong Kong.

The investors, traders and analysts (all of whom are Bloomberg subscribers) may have had a vested interest in promoting a positive impression of Hong Kong’s finance sector. But a more concrete endorsement of Hong Kong’s financial standing came on Monday when Deutsche Bank announced it was relocating its Asian wealth management headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Ravi Raju, the managing director and regional head of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management in Asia-Pacific, told the South China Morning Post that his clients had not lost confidence in the city as a result of the protests. The launch of Stock Connect earlier this week also demonstrates Hong Kong’s (and China’s) determination not to let the protests affect financial services.

However, 57% of those in the Bloomberg survey did say that the protests could drive away business if they continued. Their fears mirror those of recruiters we spoke to in late October. While Q4 hiring and 2015 talent pipelining is going ahead as planned at banks in Hong Kong, recruiters expect hiring to be affected if the protests cause major economic disruption next year.

Meanwhile:

Shanghai Free Trade Zone set to further ease rules on overseas investments. (Financial Times)

Ethnic diversity on the trading floor can boost profits, says Singapore/US study. (South China Morning Post)

Bank of China opens office in New Zealand; hires ex-politicians. (Stuff.co.nz)

And Bank of China is appointed as the clearing bank for yuan transactions in Sydney. (Business Spectator)

Citigroup would like Sumitomo Mitsui to buy its Japan bank. (Bloomberg)

Earnings boost for MRCB. (The Star)

But CIMB profits slide. (Business Times)

Online banking shakes up finance sector in China. (Asia One)


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