Jefferies & Co has hired former China chairman and chief executive of Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to help the New York-based firm expand its investment banking business in Asia, the world’s fastest growing economic region.
Sherry Liu, who resigned in August from loss-making RBS, which was rescued by British taxpayers in the 2008 global financial crisis, will join Jefferies soon to take a senior role in the investment banking business, according to three industry sources familiar with the matter.
Liu, a veteran China-focused investment banker who is well known in the financial community in Hong Kong and in mainland China, worked for RBS for about 16 months after she quit JP Morgan as vice chairman for its China business.
RBS confirmed Liu’s resignation and added that Alex Chu, head of international banking for North Asia had assumed the role of chair of the board of RBS China Ltd after Liu quit. Liu could not be reached for comment. Jefferies was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier this year, RBS, now controlled by the British government, sold its equity capital market related investment banking business in the Asia Pacific region to Malaysia’s CIMB Group. Hundreds of jobs have been cut at several international investment banks in Hong Kong so far this year due partly to weak equity markets.
Bucking the trend, the high-profile hiring of Liu shows growing ambition by Jefferies to expand its business outside the United States, in particular in Asia despite tougher competitions and lack of deals.
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