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ICBC has hired a Hong Kong director in drive for global deals

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ICBC has hired a senior structured finance banker in Hong Kong as it tries to tap deals flowing from China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) global infrastructure initiative.

Andrew Lee joined ICBC last month from Mizuho as a director covering “structured finance, project finance and acquisition finance for international corporate and financial investors”, according to his online public profile.

He is focusing on “large event-driven financing” for OBOR, China’s estimated $5trn infrastructure spending spree that spans 60-plus countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Most of the major mainland banks are hiring more bankers to work on big Chinese infrastructure transactions.

“The Chinese government’s ‘go-global’ mindset, along with the OBOR programme, is encouraging expansion of Chinese companies offshore,” says Hugo Cheng, a consultant at financial services consultancy Quinlan & Associates. “We expect Chinese banks to hire more structured, project, and acquisition financing people to serve these clients.”

OBOR is not the only reason Chinese banks are recruiting. “Global banks are de-risking due to more stringent regulations and mainland banks have been picking up these portfolios,” says Cheng. “Many global banks view shipping finance as unprofitable, for example. Armed with a sizeable deposit base, Chinese banks have taken on large ship owners as clients – such as ICBC Leasing’s deal to provide tankers to BP Shipping.”

Lee was at Mizuho for almost four years and primarily worked on cross-border deals, including originating a $400m acquisition financing for an Asian infrastructure fund and supporting a Chinese asset-backed securities cross-border distribution in Hong Kong.

He began his career in corporate consulting, working for BearingPoint for two years from 2003 and then spending a year at CVA, according to his profile.

In 2006, having working with banks as a consultant, Lee moved into investment banking himself. He specialised in M&A during stints of about two years each at Korea’s Shinyoung Securities and Tong Yang Securities.

Image credit: gregsawyer, Getty

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