Rising through the ranks in a Western investment bank is not easy for a Chinese banker, especially when you don’t have English as first language. But there will always be smart people who can work their way up in a bulge bracket bank, and do so when still relatively young. So, who are the top Chinese bankers under 40 years of age today? We’d like to nominate the names below.
1. Tim Li, MD at Goldman Sachs
Tim enrolled into Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics in 1996, but left for the US after only two years. There he got a BSc in Economics and Finance from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. He started his banking career in 2001 at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown — Deutsche Bank’s brokerage operation (which became Deutsche Bank Securities later) – as an analyst. In January 2004, he moved back to Hong Kong as an analyst for Deutsche Bank. Two years later, he joined Goldman Sachs. And it was at Goldman that Li was spotted as a rising talent. The biggest step forward happened in December 2008, when he was promoted to executive director straight from associate. He then went on to become managing director at the end of 2012, taking charge of the principal investment activities.
2. Jun Xu, MD at Morgan Stanley
Bloomberg data shows that Xu is currently aged 39. He got his Bachelor’s degree in International Trade & Computer Science (so he has a good understanding of both business and technology) from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and later obtained an MBA from University of Michigan in the US. Xu’s banking career spans across a number of areas. He used to work on private equity transactions in China for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, then joined Morgan Stanley in 2005 and started to advise Chinese clients on financial transactions and cross-border M&As. Starting from 2008, Xu moved to private equity side again and is now the CEO at Morgan Stanley (China) Private Equity Investment Management Co.
3. Ben Lin, MD at Morgan Stanley
Ben is really young. He started his university only in 2000 at Macquarie in Australia, majoring in actuarial science. We estimate that he’s 33 years old. After university, he worked for Credit Suisse as an analyst for three years, before having a stint of two years at Nomura. Lin has spent most of his career as an analyst covering the insurance sector, a role he performed at three different banks: Credit Suisse, Nomura and Morgan Stanley. In March this year, he shifted to the internet industry and currently serves as head of China internet Rresearch at Morgan Stanley.
4. Chris Wang, MD at Citi Orient Securities
Citi Orient Securities is the joint venture securities firm set up between Citigroup and China’s Orient Securities. Under current Chinese law, all foreign firms must have a local partner if they want to get into securities business. Chris went to Dartmouth College in the US in 1994 and studied computer science there. Upon graduation, he worked as a programmer analyst for Goldman Sachs for three years, before doing an MBA at Cambridge University in the UK. He came back to Asia in 2005 and worked for a different number of banks like Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and China’s Bohai Capital. He also moved around a few cities in this period, first in Hong Kong, then to Tianjin in Northern China, before ending up in Beijing. He is now an MD at the investment banking division at Citi Orient.
5. Julian Lee, MD at Standard Chartered
Julian obtained his Bachelor’s degree of chemical engineering in 1997 at MIT in the US, then went to work for Arthur D. Little as a business analyst. Like Tim Li, Julian didn’t stay in the US for too long. He came back to Asia at the end of 1999 and joined Merrill Lynch Hong Kong. He stayed there for 12 years focusing on investment banking transactions in Greater China, including IPOs and M&As. This was preparation for his current role as MD for infrastructure and transportation, corporate and institutional Clients at Standard Chartered. Transactions he has helped to execute include IPOs for Chunghwa Telecom in New York, and for Air China in HK and London.
6. Xiao Qin, MD at Goldman Sachs
Xiao Qin started his undergraduate years at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University in 1993. After Tsinghua, he went to Singapore and got a PhD from National University of Singapore within three years. He spent almost all his career in commodities trading (mostly oil) with Goldman Sachs, except for two years with UBS from 2006 to 2008.
7. Ren Huang, ED at Goldman Sachs
Ren Huang has an engineering background. He studied information engineering and electrical engineering respectively for undergraduate (2000-2004) and master. Unlike many other promising young Chinese who go to Western universities for advanced degrees, Mr. Huang took his master’s degree from Seoul National University in South Korea, and went on to work at Samsung Semiconductor as an engineer for two years. It was only after an MBA at Yale University that he shifted to banking with Goldman, with a focus on the manufacturing and engineering sector. He is now based in Beijing.
8. Brian Han, ED at Morgan Stanley
Brian is also very young. He started university at Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1999, majoring in English Literature, and started his career in marketing with Shell. He then spent a few years honing his consulting skills with big-name consulting firms such as Boston and Bain, before moving into finance. He now works on the private equity side of Morgan Stanley in Shanghai.