Juniors feel pain of Hong Kong banks' 'transition'

Citigroup's Asia headquarters in Hong Kong (Photo: George Chen/SCMP)

This is the season of hiring and firing in Hong Kong's financial community.

Hundreds of junior-level jobs have been axed at several major international banks in the city so far this year. But it's a different story when it comes to top positions.

Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 3:57pm

Jefferies & Co hires former RBS China boss

London-based RBS has been selling assets in Asia as the UK government-owned bank seeks to raise cash to meet higher capital requirements. Photo: Bloomberg

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.

16 Oct 2012 - 3:57pm

Hong Kong banks and bankers seek cheaper rents

The Kerry Centre (left) and One Island East (right) office buildings in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP

Banks and bankers are on the move in Hong Kong, searching for less expensive corporate and personal digs as the city's rents head ever higher.

19 Oct 2012 - 12:05pm

Global banks hiring staff in China

A HSBC branch in Shanghai. The bank is still hiring staff in the mainland. Photo: Bloomberg

Banks are shedding staff around the world to cut costs this year with the exception of the mainland, where several European lenders are hiring to support the expansion of their networks.

Three European banks - Britain's HSBC and Standard Chartered, and Germany's Deutsche Bank - are hiring people for various functions on the mainland, according to headhunting sources.

15 Oct 2012 - 8:39am

China's slow bank privatisation continues

Central bank of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

I've often suggested the controversial idea that Beijing should consider re-privatising its big-four state-owned banks, as all of them still act largely like socialist-era policy lenders rather than the commercial-focused banks they were supposed to become after making IPOs starting in the mid-2000s. 

12 Oct 2012 - 1:49pm

Private bankers in Hong Kong could face axe

Goldman Sachs and Julius Baer have started to make redundancies. Photo: Bloomberg

Global banks that hoped to make Hong Kong a platform to win rich mainland clients are now under growing pressure after disappointing market performance to begin sacking staff to save costs.

11 Oct 2012 - 8:58pm 1 comment

Diaoyus dispute affecting financial ties as Chinese banks pull out of Japan summits

Employees at a state-owned bookshop package maps of the disputed Islands. Photo: AP

The withdrawal of Chinese banks from upcoming global banking summits in Japan shows that the territorial row between the two Asian economic powers is already taking its toll on international financial relations.

4 Oct 2012 - 4:47am

Is it really so bad to be laid off?

Headhunters often quote Nomura, Japan’s leading investment bank, as an example.

Getting laid off sounds tough, but for a highly paid banker it is not always such a bad fate.

In the latest round of financial industry lay-offs that began over summer, hundreds of Asian-based jobs have been lost. The toll has been heavier in the United States and Europe.

23 Oct 2012 - 4:03pm 1 comment

Factbox of HSBC money laundering probes

HSBC Holdings has been investigated by 11 US law enforcement agencies or regulators, and a US Senate panel for lapses in policing illicit financial transactions. Fines, penalties and a settlement could total US$1 billion or more.


Here is a look at the probes:

26 Sep 2012 - 12:49pm

PR industry booms despite tough times

PR industry booms despite tough times

Deals may be drying up for bankers, but that is proving a boon for their spin doctors in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

As a financial journalist, I have been getting more and more invitations to events and pitches to do interviews.

When I asked public-relations people the reason for the sudden flurry, they pointed to two factors.

9 Nov 2012 - 8:11pm

Tougher economic times halve mainland banks' profit growth

Profit growth at the top 10 listed mainland banks halved in the first six months compared with a year earlier, highlighting tougher operating conditions as lending profitability and fee income shrank in a weaker economy.

21 Sep 2012 - 2:46am

Hong Kong appeal court slashes fine for inside trader Du Jun

Du Jun

Hong Kong's biggest insider trader and former Morgan Stanley managing director Du Jun lost his appeal against his conviction but had his jail term cut and fine sharply reduced.

21 Sep 2012 - 4:03pm

China unlikely to ease controls on interest rates soon

PBOC officials believe it's still too early to relax controls on interest rates.

Beijing took a small step towards liberalising its interest-rate regime in June, but the central bank is quietly signalling that further concrete steps will not be taken any time soon.

21 Sep 2012 - 2:46am

Former RBS China chief financial officer questioned by police

A former RBS China official was questioned by police over suspected economic crimes.

A former chief financial officer with the Royal Bank of Scotland's China operations was recently questioned by police over suspected economic crimes.

According to three sources with knowledge of the matter, Edgar Zhi, formerly also of ABN Amro China, was investigated by police for alleged illegal actions, and it is unknown yet whether he had violated any Chinese laws.

21 Sep 2012 - 3:02am

Financial community bids farewell to trailblazing HK banker

Patrick Thomas, pictured here in 1986 when he ran Manufacturers Hanover Asia, was a trailblazer in the Hong Kong dollar debt market, later setting up his own boutique investment bank, Oakreed Financial Services. Photo: SCMP

Hong Kong financiers are mourning the death of pioneering capital markets banker Patrick Thomas, a driving force in the local bond market, and founder of investment bank Oakreed Financial Services.

21 Sep 2012 - 3:51pm