Banking & Finance

Hong Kong-listed stock broker Haitong International to hire 500 wealth managers as its bucks downturn

  • Haitong International is adding a new office in Wong Chuk Hang as it expands team despite market downturn
  • First Chinese broker to become market maker on Nasdaq in October
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2018, 11:01pm

Haitong International Securities Group, the largest mainland-backed stockbroker in Hong Kong by net assets, plans to hire an additional 500 wealth managers and has bought a brand new 12,000 square feet office in Wong Chuk Hang as part of its expansion plans, according to a senior executive.

Haitong, the first Chinese broker to get a licence to act as market maker on Nasdaq in October, has seen its wealth management business improve significantly in recent times, making it one of the few Chinese companies to keep hiring despite the market downturn this year.

It currently employs 180 wealth managers.

“Despite the Hang Seng Index falling 13 per cent this year and the ongoing trade war between China and the US, Haitong International remains positive about the economic growth of Hong Kong and mainland China, which will increase demand for wealth management services,” managing director Duke Du Jinsong said in an interview.

“We also consider this is as a social responsibility to provide job opportunities and training for the next generation of brokers in Hong Kong.”

The Securities and Futures Commission last week said it had received a record 2,354 individual broking licence applications in the July to September quarter, up 15 per cent from a year earlier. That lifted the number of SFC-licensed individuals to 46,063 at the end of September and licensed firms to 2,844 – both record highs.

Haitong wants to expand its wealth management services for three categories of customers – retail public, high net worth individuals with at least US$1 million and ultra high net worth customers with at least US$10 million.

According to a PwC report, China’s wealth management market was worth 133 trillion yuan (US$20 trillion) in 2017, and is expected to rise to 175 trillion yuan in 2020, driven by net worth individuals.

Shift in business focus pays off for Haitong International Securities

“The classification will help us to offer tailor-made services and products for different clients’ needs,” Du said.

To cope with the expansion plan, Du said the company has been adding staff to its new office in One Island South since September, adding that the company intends to keep its three offices in Sheung Wan.

He said that Haitong will also open more branches in the future as and when it is able to hire sufficient staff to serve its customers.

We also consider this is as a social responsibility to provide job opportunities and training for the next generation of brokers in Hong Kong
Duke Du Jinsong, managing director, Haitong International Securities Group

“On average, a branch needs a sales task force of about 100.”

He said Haitong’s research has shown that over 80 per cent of customers trade stocks online but a wider branch network could help it to capture new customers by offering more personalised services. The company now has three branches in Hong Kong in North Point, Sheung Wan and Mong Kok and one in Macau.

The company is part of Shanghai-headquartered Haitong Securities, one China’s top five brokers in terms of assets. It entered Hong Kong in July 2007 by taking over Taifook Securities from New World Development and in 2010 was rebranded as Haitong International.

The company now has about 1,200 staff worldwide, with most of them based in Hong Kong and about 20 per cent spread across its overseas network in Singapore, New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney and Mumbai. It has assets worth HK$158 billion (US$20.2 billion) while its turnover is among the top 14 stock brokers in Hong Kong.

Haitong International Securities buys pan-Asian broker in overseas push

“Haitong Securities was in the first batch of Chinese brokers that was approved to establish subsidiaries in Hong Kong by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. It was intended to be a stepping stone to enter the international market,” he said.

Du said that Haitong International’s market maker status on Nasdaq will help it to boost trading in Chinese stocks listed on the exchange.

“US markets are not just for US companies, but it is for the best companies worldwide to trade there. I am optimistic about Haitong International’s prospects there,” he said.

Haitong International has completed 31 IPOs in Hong Kong and 37 equity financing deals globally so far this year, topping the league in terms of number of deals made, according to Bloomberg.