Banking and Finance News & Trends Recap: June Week 4

Banking and Finance News & Trends Recap: June Week 4

Banking and Finance News & Trends Recap: June Week 4

Table of contents

  1. Finance Industry News
  2. Investment, PE & VC News


Finance Sector News

1. Trends

i. Sudden Surge in M&A Activities Observed in Singapore

Singapore has become a hotspot for M&A activity this quarter, driven by investor confidence in the country’s economic and political stability. Since April, the value of deals involving Singapore companies has surged 102% from the full second quarter of 2023, reaching US$23.8 billion. This surge signals a positive long-term economic outlook and strong investor interest in strategic assets in Singapore.

Read the full article about the surge in M&As in Singapore.


ii. Foreign Banks Eye Swiss Expansion After UBS’ Takeover of Credit Suisse

With the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, global banks are expanding their presence in Switzerland to capitalise on business opportunities. BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Citi, and Bank of America are increasing their staffing and targeting smaller companies, which form the backbone of the Swiss economy. However, according to Bank of America, UBS remains the largest player, and the competition window for new banking partners is closing.

Read the full article about banks’ interest in Switzerland.


iii. Increase in Investment-Banking Momentum Drives Jefferies’ Profits

Jefferies Financial Group saw a significant boost in earnings, driven by a surge in investment banking revenue and a substantial increase in debt underwriting. For the fiscal second quarter, investment banking revenue rose 59%, with total earnings reaching US$145.7 million. This suggests a recovery in demand for investment banking services following a challenging period marked by high interest rates and geopolitical concerns. Jefferies executives are optimistic about continued growth, citing a strong backlog and positive market trends for the second half of 2024 and 2025. Despite increased expenses, the firm expects further gains, buoyed by recent IPO activity and potential interest rate cuts.

Read the full article about the demand for investment banking.


2. Business Moves

i. Tencent-Backed WeBank to Launch Hong Kong Fintech Unit

Tencent-backed WeBank received regulatory approval to establish a fintech subsidiary in Hong Kong with a capitalisation of US$150 million. The new unit, led by WeBank president Li Nanqing, aims to expand WeBank’s overseas business and support countries under the Belt and Road Initiative. This move is part of efforts to boost economic integration between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, aligning with the Greater Bay Area initiative. WeBank, China’s largest online-only lender, reported strong financial performance last year with a revenue of 39.3 billion yuan and a net profit of 10.8 billion yuan. The bank is valued at 235 billion yuan, making it the world’s 10th largest unicorn in 2024.

Read the full paid article about WeBank’s Hong Kong fintech unit.


ii. DBS Keen to Grow Greater China Team by 41%

DBS Private Bank aims to boost its Greater China workforce in Hong Kong by 41% in 2024, driven by strong growth from clients in mainland China and Taiwan. Additionally, the bank plans to extend its specialist UHNW team from Singapore to Hong Kong and enhance its brand presence in the city.


3. People Moves: Citi, UBS and Standard Chartered

Citi: Citi hired Matthew Hung as head of corporate banking for Hong Kong, effective August 19. Hung, previously head of corporate coverage at HSBC Hong Kong, will replace Joy Cheng, who became head of Hong Kong’s Citi Commercial Bank in February 2024. Hung, who has over 20 years of experience with Hong Kong, mainland Chinese clients, and MNCs, will also join the Hong Kong executive committee.

UBS: UBS expanded its wealth management team in the Middle East by hiring 10 employees from Deutsche Bank and HSBC, three of whom will take on senior roles.

  • Bassel Al Zaouk, formerly the CEO and country head of Deutsche Bank in Saudi Arabia, joins as the head of domestic wealth management at UBS’s Riyadh office.
  • Ali Khunji will co-head the Bahrain office with Khaled Salah.
  • Rana Al Emam will lead the business expansion efforts in Abu Dhabi.

Standard Chartered: Standard Chartered bolstered its discretionary portfolio management (DPM) and fixed income capabilities in Singapore with four key appointments.

  • Alicia Chu, who has 14 years of experience, joins from Bank of Singapore as the head of fixed-income mandates.
  • Alvin Chua, who has 16 years of experience, joins from DBS as a senior portfolio manager for multi-asset mandates.
  • Kan Jun Yang joins from Deutsche Bank as a portfolio manager for fixed-income.
  • Rayson Heung, who has 20 years of experience, was appointed a senior investment strategist for fixed income in the chief investment office.

Read the full article about Citi’s Corporate banking head from HSBC.

Read the full article about Standard Chartered’s DPM team.


Investment, PE & VC News

private equity ventures in hong kong

1. Business Moves

i. Swiss Private Equity Giant Partners Group Ventures Into Hong Kong

Swiss-based private equity giant Partners Group, managing US$147 billion in assets, is opening its 21st global office in Hong Kong to expand its wealth management business in Asia. The Hong Kong office, led by veteran fund manager Henry Chui, will focus on distributing investment products to professional investors and tapping into the region’s high-net-worth client base. Partners Group plans to hire up to 10 new talents for this venture. The firm, which also operates in Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo, sees significant growth potential in the APAC region, both in distribution and investments.

Read the full article about Partners Group’s plans for Hong Kong.


ii. Legend Capital’s Two Portfolio Companies Bag IPOs

Two of Legend Capital’s portfolio companies successfully launched their IPOs.

  • New Energy: Yongzhen Technology went public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It in the development, production, and sales of green energy structural materials, including aluminum alloy photovoltaic frames. The company’s IPO follows rapid growth, with revenue increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35.13% from 2021 to 2023.
  • Healthcare: Aidet, a provider of dental restoration materials and digital equipment, raised 855 million yuan through its IPO. Legend Capital, the company’s earliest and largest institutional investor, supported it in equity governance, talent acquisition, subsequent financing, strategic positioning, and mergers and acquisitions.

High-growth, tech-driven, internationally-minded companies are performing well. Recent Chinese national policies support the growth of venture capital and technology innovation, enhancing the environment for investment and fostering specialised, innovative small giants.

Read the full Chinese article about Yongzhen and Aidite’s IPO.


iii. Korean Crypto Investment Firm Hashed Explores Abu Dhabi

South Korean crypto investment firm Hashed is expanding into Abu Dhabi by partnering with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem. This move is driven by Abu Dhabi’s favourable regulatory environment for digital assets. Hashed plans to bring more Korean startups to the UAE, focusing on financial technology and digital assets, and will also establish an office in Abu Dhabi to explore fundraising opportunities. The expansion is part of a strategic move to support Korean startups in scaling globally due to the challenging domestic market conditions in South Korea. The UAE has been actively attracting crypto companies and has committed over $2 billion to fund Web3 startups and blockchain technologies. Hashed’s portfolio includes prominent companies like Yuga Labs, dYdX, and Axie Infinity.

Read the full article about Hashed’s investment in Abu Dhabi.


iv. Jain Global Secures $5.3b in Largest Hedge Fund Launch Since 2018

Bobby Jain secured $5.3 billion in commitments for his new multistrategy hedge fund, Jain Global, marking the largest fundraising since ExodusPoint Capital Management’s debut. Jain Global will start trading on July 1, with investments from endowments, foundations, family offices, bank wealth platforms, and sovereign wealth funds. Jain Global has hired 215 staff, including 42 portfolio managers, and will launch with seven businesses, including an Asia-Pacific multimanager platform. Bobby Jain previously served as the co-chief investment officer at Millennium Management for seven years and spent over two decades at Credit Suisse Group AG in various senior roles.

Read the full article about Bobby Jain’s fundraising.


2. People Moves: Indosuez, Blackhorn, Aspenwood, JHI, Federated Hermes, PGIM

Indosuez: Indosuez Wealth Management, part of Crédit Agricole Group, named Michaël Kofman as CEO and Hong Kong Branch Manager, effective September 1. Kofman will succeed Olivier Livenais and oversee the Hong Kong branch’s wealth management operations. Kofman has nearly 30 years of experience in financial services and over 13 years at Indosuez. He previously served as Head of Structuring and Financing, managing teams in Switzerland and Asia. His background includes roles in compliance and credit solutions, and he previously served in a leadership capacity at Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.

Blackhorn: Hong Kong-based Blackhorn Wealth Management strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Simon Chiu as MD of Investment Management, Forrest Chan as Head of Equities, and Agnes Wong as Head of Fixed Income. The firm also introduced the Blackhorn Hedge Fund Solution in collaboration with UBP, led by Alan Lee, Head of Investment Strategies.

Aspenwood: Alex Chang, formerly a private banking VP at EFG, has joined Aspenwood Capital as a managing partner in Hong Kong. Chang has worked at Nomura, CIC, RBC Wealth Management, and KB Kookmin Bank.

JHI: Janus Henderson Investors (JHI) hired San Lo John as Director of Intermediary Sales for Asia, a newly created role. San, who was the Head of Citigold Investment Consultants at Citibank Wealth Management Singapore, has close to 30 years of experience in the financial market and investment management. He has worked with various asset managers and family offices. These include independent Swiss asset manager Crossinvest Asia from 2009 to 2015, Asia family office Wuthelam, and Asia multi-style equity hedge fund Alcor Capital.

Federated Hermes: Federated Hermes hired Calista Ng as associate director for business development. Ng will be based in Singapore and will focus on family office and private wealth management clients in APAC. Ng previously worked at Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management, supporting ultra-high-net-worth investors and family offices. This appointment reflects Federated Hermes’ strategy to expand its family office and private wealth management services in the region.

PGIM: Prudential Financial’s asset management division, PGIM Private Alternatives, appointed Daniel Greyling as vice president for APAC business development. In this newly created role, Greyling will focus on managing and expanding institutional client relationships in Australia and Southeast Asia. Greyling, who joins from MLC Asset Management, brings over 15 years of experience in investment consulting and institutional sales. This move comes as PGIM consolidates its private alternatives capabilities.


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