It hasn’t exactly been a positive start to the year for Hong Kong’s finance community – local job cuts and continued Chinese market turmoil have dominated headlines.
Senior Hong Kong bankers gathering at this week’s Asian Financial Forum are in a surprisingly upbeat mood, however, reports the South China Morning Post. In particular, they are salivating about how many deals they might do under China’s ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure initiative, which aims to link Asia to Europe and the Middle East, creating a US$8.5 trillion market over the next 10 years.
If you thought China’s grand regional market plans would mainly benefit mainland financial centres and mainly benefit people working in transaction banking, several top Hong Kong bankers would beg to differ. They say the project could in fact be good news for investment bankers in Hong Kong – particularly those with cross-border experience in capital markets. And this could – in the long-term at least – be a fillip for IBD jobs in the territory.
China will initially provide about US$240 billion to kick start the project, but Hong Kong will play the major role in recycling this money regionally, Gordon French, group general manager and head of global banking and markets at HSBC, told the conference. Not all Belt and Road transactions will be financed by bilateral loans – Hong Kong’s equity and debt capital markets will also be tapped, according to French.
Chen Shuang, chief executive of China Everbright, agrees. He told the conference that new public bodies such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund will play only a limited part in financing infrastructure on the modern-day Silk Road. Investments banks will be central to providing private capital. “Unlike China, Hong Kong has a very well developed secondary market. Over the years, this has allowed Hong Kong to help Chinese corporates raise capital as they have gone global,” he added.
Long-term identity of HSBC should determine where it bases its headquarters. (Reuters)
Henry Ho joins Rothschild as Southeast Asia non-executive chairman. (Finance Asia)
Banking and financial services is the favoured industry for Singaporean workers wanting to swap sectors, says Hudson report. (Straits Times)
Hong Kong hedge fund Guard Capital Management makes two senior hires. (Bloomberg)
Commonwealth Bank of Australia has opened a fintech ‘innovation lab’ in Hong Kong. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Investment bankers needed to help Postal Savings Bank of China with its IPO. (Wall Street Journal)
ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott will tackle unacceptable staff behaviour “head on”. (Sydney Morning Herald)
20-something ex-Goldman bankers who set up fashion brand named in Forbes’ 30 under 30. (Daily Mail)
Neuberger replaces Taiwan head. (Asian Investor)
Meet the seven men who control China’s economy. (Straits Times)
3DSculptor, iStock, Thinkstock