LURED by the enormous potential in the fledging Asian markets, hungry investment bankers are sparing no time in building up their strongholds in Hong Kong, hoping to carving out a greater share of the market. The key to such an expansion is speed in establishing a presence and scrupulously competing for deals. It is no secret that the market is full of unknown yet good borrowers whose debt will meet investors' demand for quality paper with high yields. So, whoever gets in first will enjoy definite advantages. American houses which possess the technical know-how and strong global placement powers have been aggressively raising their profiles. Their big problem is how to quickly build up a team of professionals. Recently, a well-established regional investment bank in Hong Kong experienced large staff turnover in its syndicated loan department. As a result, all remaining staff in that department have been with the bank for less than one year. To justify the expense of their operations, the banks are pressured to get deals. Naturally, a price-cutting war ensues which benefits only the borrowers. One banker worries that such expansion will not enable banks to recruit the right persons for the right jobs. ''These people will then be under pressure to get deals, in whatever way they can,'' he said. The quality of the staff will have a direct bearing on the issue's structure and will affect the way an investor views or accepts an issue. Banks will be compelled to take on ''marginal deals'', where the profit from arranging a transaction is slim. Worse still, the pressure to get deals may lead to banks taking on poor-quality borrowers and introducing them to investors. At present, competition is healthy rather than vicious. In an evolving market where entry is open, competition will lead to natural screening and only the fittest will survive. But now it is important that investors do not become victims of staff problems. If bankers accept low quality deals and investors find their trust in banks betrayed, investors' confidence in the region will be severely damaged.