Bank of China is hiring traders and sales people as it sets up a high-yield bond trading platform to boost market share and cement its position as one of Asia's top 10 debt underwriters.
Surging sales of Chinese corporate US dollar debt and dim sum bonds justified the additional headcount, said Tony Wang, a deputy general manager for global markets at Bank of China (Hong Kong).
Wang said the mainland's fourth-largest lender was seeking to grow as companies stepped up offshore fundraising to finance overseas acquisitions. He declined to say how many people the bank intended to recruit.
"We are expanding not only in the debt capital markets business, but also in syndicate, sales and trading," Wang said. "We are starting high-yield bond trading on a limited, controllable risk basis. That's mainly to make markets for the bonds we underwrite. We are looking to hire more sales people and traders."
Excluding Japan, companies from China accounted for more than half of the equivalent of US$106.4 billion of notes denominated in dollars, euro or yen that were sold by Asia issuers in the first half of this year.
In the high-yield dollar debt market, they were behind almost 54 per cent of offerings, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Dim sum bond sales will jump 53 per cent to an unprecedented 570 billion yuan (HK$712 billion) this year, according to HSBC Holdings.
Chinese companies have announced US$135 billion of acquisitions since the start of this year, up 33 per cent from a year earlier, data showed.
China Petrochemical Corp raised US$6 billion in this year's largest dollar bond sale in Asia with Bank of China among the arrangers. In the past three months, the refiner has agreed to buy assets in countries including Canada, Angola and Kazakhstan.
"As the yuan internationalises, more Chinese companies are expanding overseas and Hong Kong is their first choice," Wang said. "As a Chinese bank with international experience, we're able to understand their needs and global dynamics."
He said the lender might take advantage of recent cuts at global investment banks when looking for new hires.
Barclays said in May it would cut 7,000 jobs at its investment bank, while ABN Amro Group, the Dutch state-owned lender, said last month it would cut about 100 jobs as it exited equity derivatives and shut its Asian markets business.