One of HSBC’s top-performing Asian teams just made a big hire

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One of HSBC’s top-performing Asian teams just made a big hire

OCBC’s head of trade finance product management has left for HSBC as banks step up their hiring in Asian transaction banking. Tze Tze Lee, a veteran of the sector in Singapore, is now head of product and propositions for global trade receivables finance (GTRF) at HSBC, according to her online profile.

Lee’s move is certainly well timed. HSBC’s GTRF team saw its revenue rise 12% year on year in Q1 to $211m, partly because of a strong performance in Asia, according to HSBC’s first quarter earnings report, which was published last week. While HSBC is cutting costs in its Global Banking and Markets division (of which GTRF is a part), these are largely directed at its underperforming investment bank.

Having spent much of her 19-year career at Singaporean firms, Lee has stepped into a job in one of her sector’s dominant players. HSBC, which makes about 80% of its profits from Asia, was ranked in second place (behind Citi) for global transaction banking revenues in 2018, according to data released last month by research firm Coalition.

Below Lee’s level, rank-and-file hiring in transaction banking (a field which includes both trade finance and cash management) has picked up in Singapore and Hong Kong this year, say recruiters. Several banks in Asia continue to grow their revenues in this stable (but slightly mundane) sector. At Standard Chartered, transaction banking income was up 5% year on year in the first quarter. At Deutsche Bank, it grew 6%.

Lee began her career in 2000 at DBS and worked there until 2011, latterly as global product manager, head of supply chain financing. She then did a five-year stint at Swedish bank SEB as its Singapore-based head of product management for transaction services, responsible for both cash management and trade finance products across Asia. Lee joined OCBC in November 2016.

Image credit: Bunhill, Getty

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