Industry News & Trends Recap: Feb Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap: Feb Week 2

Weekly Industry News & Trends Recap

As work resumes after the Chinese New Year break, our recruitment consultancy observed more personnel movements. Concurrently, fresh opportunities are emerging in Asia in areas like the life sciences and consumer goods industries.

Table of contents

  1. Finance Industry News
  2. Investment, PE & VC News
  3. Legal Industry News
  4. Healthcare & Life Sciences News
  5. Luxury & Retail News
  6. Tech & AI News


Finance Sector News

banking and financial services industry news

DBS Secures License for Corporate Bond Underwriting in China

DBS China has obtained a license to underwrite debt financing instruments in China’s interbank bond market for non-financial enterprises, including those from abroad. This makes it the first Southeast Asia-based (SEA) bank to do so. This license will allow international entities to access the world’s second-largest bond market through DBS.

Read the full article about DBS’s license.


Chinese Finance Ministry’s Wang Kebing Takes Up Vice Presidency at Policy Bank

Former director-general of the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Finance, Wang Kebing, has been named vice president of China Development Bank. He succeeded Liu Jin, who moved to the Bank of China Ltd. This move is part of a broader trend in 2024 of officials transitioning to roles in state-owned financial institutions.

Read the full paid article about Wang Kebing’s appointment.


Bonnie Chan Appointed as New CEO of HKEX

Bonnie Chan has been named the new CEO of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX). She succeeds Alejandro Nicolas Aguzin and will serve from March 1, 2023, to February 28, 2027. Alongside her CEO role, Chan will also become an ex-officio member of the Board starting March 1. Additionally, HKEX announced the appointments of:

  • Yiu Ka Yan as Deputy Chief Executive.
  • Lau Bik Yun, Vanessa, as Co-Chief Operating Officer while continuing her role as the Group Chief Financial Officer.


People Moves in Banks: BNP Paribas and Nomura IWM

    BNP Paribas: BNP Paribas Wealth Management continues its hiring spree into the new year, adding another seasoned banker to its Hong Kong team. The bank has seen about 20 relationship managers (RMs) join in the past year, including senior bankers from major firms like Morgan Stanley, Citi Private Bank and many others from Credit Suisse. Peter Chan, formerly from Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, is one of the latest high-profile hires, joining as a managing director and senior RM.

    Nomura IWM: Connie Sin joins Nomura IWM as the head of managed investments. Sin previously focused on private and retail banking wealth management in her previous role at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong. She also previously served at BNP Paribas Wealth Management and Noble Apex.

    Read the full article about BNP Paribas’ appointments.

    Read the full article about Nomura IWM’s appointment.


    People Moves in Financial Services-Related Firms: Hex Trust and Morningstar

    Hex Trust: Hong Kong-based digital asset custodian Hex Trust appointed former Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan bankers Dr Dimitrios Kavvathas and Marty Jetton to its advisory board. Dr Kavvathas has over two decades of experience in global financial markets, while Jetton, previously Hex Trust’s chief network officer, has a strong background in risk management across Asia.

    Morningstar: Morningstar has named Shihan Abeyguna as managing director for SEA. This is a newly established position, and Abeyguna will continue to maintain his current roles within the firm. Abeyguna’s appointment aims to bolster Morningstar’s growth and presence in the Southeast Asian market.

    Read the full article about Hex Trust’s appointments.

    Read the full article about Morningstar’s appointment.


    Investment, PE & VC News

    investment and wealth management industry news

    Switzerland, the US, and Singapore Rank Top for Building Family Wealth Across Generations

    With the lowest unemployment rates and high-quality education, Switzerland tops the chart as the best country for building multi-generational wealth, according to Henley & Partners. This is followed by the US and Singapore. The index evaluates countries based on education, career prospects, and economic mobility, highlighting the potential for families to improve their generational success rates significantly by relocating.

    Read the full article about Henley & Partners’ study.


    People Moves: Savills IM, Janus Henderson and More

    Savills IM: Savills Investment Management has named Hsueh Ling Ng as the head of Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, a newly created role aimed at leveraging the region’s robust economic growth and investment opportunities. Ng has over 30 years of experience in real estate, including senior positions at Lendlease and Keppel REIT Management. She will oversee the company’s investment and client capital teams across Asia-Pacific (APAC), excluding Japan, as it seeks to expand its regional client base and manage substantial assets.

    Janus Henderson: Janus Henderson recruits Victoria Mio as the new Head of Greater China Equities, a role based in Singapore. Mio has over 20 years of experience in Chinese equities investments, and her background includes leadership positions at Fidelity International and Robeco.

    GIC: Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, announces senior leadership changes, including Sam Kim’s appointment as COO and Bryan Yeo as deputy group CIO. This leadership reshuffle and other key appointments aim to enhance GIC’s operational and investment capabilities.

    Dasin Retail Trust: Dasin Retail Trust has appointed a new CIO, Wang Peng, after terminating the previous CIO amid legal disputes.

    Eastspring Investments: Salman Haider has been appointed as chief distribution officer at Eastspring Investments, with his new role starting on March 18. Haider will lead the global distribution strategy, enhance retail, institutional, and life partnerships, and report directly to Bill Maldonado, CEO and interim CIO.

    Read the full article about Savills IM’s appointment.

    Read the full article about Janus Henderson’s appointment.

    Read the full article about GIC’s appointments.

    Read the full article about Dasin Retail Trust’s leadership reshuffle.

    Read the full article about Eastspring Investments’ appointment.


    Singapore’s InCorp Global Acquired by Hillhouse Investment

    Singapore-based corporate solutions and business advisory firm InCorp Global announced its acquisition by Hillhouse Investment, a leading global alternative investment firm. The move aims to accelerate InCorp’s growth and expand its service offerings, enabling it to leverage new opportunities in the Asia Pacific and Europe.

    Read the full article about Hillhouse Investment’s acquisition.


    Global Finance Giants Target Southeast Asia for Investment Opportunities

    Private equity investors are eyeing growth opportunities in SEA’s healthcare and technology sectors after a five-year low in investments in 2023. KKR plans to increase investment activity, drawn by the region’s growing population, increasing affluence, and supportive policies. Amidst a challenging global economic environment, the region presents attractive investment opportunities, with companies like Blackstone also looking to capitalise on sectors including technology and healthcare.

    Read the full article about SEA’s investment potential.


    IEA Partners with Singapore to Establish Regional Energy Hub for Asia’s Green Transition

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) is partnering with Singapore to establish its first regional office outside Paris. The move aims to enhance Asia’s shift towards clean energy, and the office is set to open in the second half of 2024. The IEA’s Regional Cooperation Centre in Singapore will focus on deploying renewables, boosting cross-border power trade, and enhancing access to finance for clean energy investments.

    Read the full article about IEA and Singapore’s investment in green energy.


    Legal News

    legal industry news and personnel moves

    Indonesia’s ARMA Law Forms Strategic Alliance with South Korea’s Shin & Kim

    Shin & Kim, a leading South Korean law firm, has formed a strategic alliance with Jakarta-based ARMA Law. The move aims to complement Shin & Kim’s Indonesia desk and expand its presence in Asia, which already includes offices in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi.

    Read the full article about the law firms’ alliance.


    McDermott’s Energy Expert in Singapore Joins Watson Farley & Williams

    U.S. law firm McDermott Will & Emery’s Singapore office is now down to a single partner following the departure of energy specialist Merrick White to Watson Farley & Williams. White, whose expertise includes advising on various energy-related development projects and transactions, previously joined McDermott in 2021 from King & Spalding. His move increases Watson Farley & Williams’ partner count in Singapore to 14 amidst a period of notable exits from McDermott that has seen the return of several partners to their former firms and others establishing their practices.

    Read the full article about Watson Farley & Williams’ appointment.


    Stephenson Harwood Expands its Hong Kong Team with Eversheds Hire

    Stephenson Harwood’s Hong Kong office has recruited capital markets specialist Amy Yu from Eversheds Sutherland, marking the firm’s third partner addition in the city this year. Yu, who brings nearly two decades of experience, will advise on IPOs, M&A, and regulatory matters and boost the firm’s partner count in Hong Kong to 25. Her hiring follows a series of strategic expansions for Stephenson Harwood, including the acquisition of a shipping and maritime law team and specialists in transactions, disputes, and corporate finance from various prestigious firms.

    Read the full article about Stephenson Harwood’s appointment.


    Bird & Bird Secures Hong Kong Capital Markets Partner from Exiting Winston

    Bird & Bird has hired Winston & Strawn’s capital markets specialist, David Cheng, as a partner in Hong Kong. This follows Winston & Strawn’s closure of its Hong Kong office. Cheng, who has over 15 years of experience, will advise on IPOs, spin-offs, and M&As and strengthen Bird & Bird’s corporate practice in APAC. Bird & Bird’s team in Greater China now includes 18 partners.

    Read the full article about Bird & Bird’s appointment.


    Six Law Firms Advise on Ascendent’s $1.66 billion Acquisition of Hollysys

    Six law firms were involved in Ascendent Capital Partners’s $1.66 billion acquisition of Chinese control system solutions provider Hollysys Automation Technologies. Davis Polk, Mourant Ozannes, Haiwen & Partners, Appleby, Morrison & Foerster, and Zhong Lun Law Firm will advise on different aspects of the deal.

    Read the full article about Ascendent’s acquisition.


    Healthcare & Life Sciences News

    life sciences and biopharma industry news

    Samsung Biologics First Among Domestic Peers to Attain Leadership A-Score

    Samsung Biologics earns a Leadership A-score from a global sustainability management evaluation organisation for its climate change response capabilities. This makes it the first among Korean biopharmaceutical companies, and the score places it alongside global pharmaceutical giants like AstraZeneca, GSK, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.

    Read the full article about Samsung’s recognition.


    HarbourVest Sees Opportunities in Asia, Particularly China’s Healthcare Sector

    Private markets firm HarbourVest sees investment opportunities in Asia. In particular, China’s healthcare services and consumer industries are especially attractive, driven by the country’s demographic shifts and increased retail spending for related products. Supply chain diversification trends also create investment prospects in Japan, South Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.

    Read the full article about Asia’s investment potential.


    AbbVie Completes $10.1B Acquisition of ImmunoGen Ahead of Schedule

    AbbVie completes its $10.1 billion acquisition of ImmunoGen ahead of schedule after FTC clearance. The move aims to redefine the standard of care for patients with ovarian cancer and boost AbbVie’s oncology portfolio. Sales are projected to reach $1.4 billion by 2029. AbbVie is also pursuing an $8.7 billion acquisition of neuroscience specialist Cerevel Therapeutics.

    Read the full article about AbbVie’s acquisition plans.


    China Leads the Way in Approving Roche’s PNH Drug

    Roche’s Crovalimab, a subcutaneous drug for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), has received its first approval for use in treatment in China. With significant sales in the PNH market, Roche aims to expand Crovalimab’s approval globally to compete with other emerging treatments like Apellis’ Empaveli and Novartis’ Fabhalta.

    Read the full article about Roche’s PNH drug approval.


    Mikael Dolsten Prepares Pfizer to Tap Into Obesity’s Next Wave

    Pfizer’s chief scientist Mikael Dolsten highlights obesity as the next pandemic, with new drugs to address it. Despite delays and challenges in the obesity drug programme, Pfizer aims to catch up with its rivals in the market.

    Read the full article about Pfizer’s plans.


    Luxury & Retail News

    luxury and consumer goods news

    Unilever CEO, Backed by Nelson Peltz, Implements Strategic Changes

    Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher receives support from Nelson Peltz for the company’s revitalisation strategy that focuses on systematic marketing for key brands and potential workforce streamlining. Despite investor scepticism and past performance criticism, Schumacher aims to emphasise growth, innovation, and operational discipline. However, opinions differ on potential portfolio changes like spinning off the food business.

    Read the full article about Unilever’s strategy.


    Luke Evans to Launch Men’s Basics Clothing Line BDXY

    Luke Evans and his fashion stylist partner launched BDXY, a clothing line inspired by Old Hollywood glamour designed to offer timeless staple pieces for men’s wardrobes. The collection includes swimwear, T-shirts, underwear, and accessories. Evans emphasises sustainability and creative control and hopes to establish a global presence.

    Read the full article about BDXY.


    Tod’s Owner Partners with L Catterton for Delisting

    Tod’s founder and L Catterton aim to delist the company from the Italian stock exchange through a tender offer at €43 per share. The Della Valle family will retain 54%, L Catterton will acquire 36%, and LVMH’s Delphine SAS will hold 10%. Delisting allows Tod’s to pursue its growth strategy away from market scrutiny. Despite solid sales growth, Tod’s seeks to strengthen its position in the luxury market, considering potential ties with LVMH for further expansion.

    Read the full article about Tod’s potential delisting.


    Partnerships: L’Oréal x Miu Miu and Dieux x Sephora

    L’Oréal and Miu Miu: L’Oréal partners with Miu Miu for a global license agreement, integrating the fashion brand into its Luxe division. The agreement, made in collaboration with Prada, covers the creation, development, and distribution of Miu Miu’s beauty product line. The first fragrance line under L’Oréal is set to debut in 2025, marking a strategic move to expand its portfolio and boost its position in the fragrance market.

    Dieux and Sephora: DTC skincare brand Dieux partners with Sephora, launching its products online and in stores to expand its consumer reach. The move highlights Sephora’s efforts to stay competitive in the clinical skincare market, and more partnerships with brands like Elemis are in the pipeline. This collaboration is also Dieux’s first wholesale venture.

    Read the full article about L’Oréal and Miu Miu’s partnership.

    Read the full article about Dieux and Sephora’s partnership.


    L’Oréal Invests in Chinese Fragrance Brand To Summer

    L’Oréal invests in To Summer, a Chinese fragrance brand, as part of its ongoing commitment to the Chinese market. The investment, made through Shanghai Meicifang Investment, follows a similar move in 2022 with another Chinese fragrance brand, Documents.

    Read the full article about L’Oréal’s investment.


    Tech & AI News

    tech and AI science industry developments

    Singapore Web3 Firms Seek Budget Support for Talent Development and Cybersecurity

    Ahead of Budget 2024, Singapore’s Web3 and digital asset firms seek support for talent growth, blockchain adoption, and cyber defence. They emphasise the need to reskill developers for Web3, transition from Web2, and invest in blockchain education. Firms also expressed hope for incentives to explore greener initiatives, relief for startups, and regulatory clarity to foster digital asset growth and cybersecurity resilience.

    Read the full article about firms’ proposed support.


    Singapore’s Startale Labs Passes its $3.5m Series A Funding Target

    Singapore’s Startale Labs secured $3.5 million in Series A funding from investors like UVM Signum Blockchain Fund and Samsung Next Ventures, valuing the startup at $63.5 million. Departing from traditional funding routes, Startale opts for a private placement of shares, highlighting the firm’s commitment to advancing Web3 innovation and fostering collaborations, including an upcoming partnership with Sony Network Communications.

    Read the full article about Startale Labs.


    KPMG: Singapore’s AI Fintech Investments Surged in 2023 H2 Despite a Global Downturn in Funding

    While Singapore’s total fintech funding for 2023 declined 68%, totalling US$2.2 billion, funding for AI technologies surged by 77% in the second half of 2023, reaching US$333.1 million. This is amidst a global decline in fintech investments due to cautious investor sentiment amid geopolitical conflicts and high interest rates.

    Read the full article about Singapore’s investment in AI fintech.


    HSBC Asset Management Spearheads Investment in Hong Kong Insurtech Startup

    Hong Kong-based startup MediConCen secured $6.85 million in Series A, with funding led by HSBC Asset Management. The company plans to expand into the Middle East and Southeast Asia, leveraging its technology to enhance customer experience and revolutionise the traditional insurance claim process.

    Read the full article about MediConCen’s plans.


    Baidu Collaborates with Lenovo for AI Integration in Smartphones

    Baidu partners with Lenovo to integrate its Ernie AI model into Lenovo smartphones, following similar collaborations with Samsung and Honor. Lenovo’s phones, including Motorola devices, will utilise Ernie for features like chatbots and real-time translation, expanding Baidu’s reach in the mobile market. The move reflects a growing trend of smartphone manufacturers incorporating generative AI technology.

    Read the full article about Lenovo and Baidu’s partnership.


    Unlock Insights and Opportunities with JC Consulting

    In a world where understanding market dynamics and industry trends is crucial, staying informed is not just an option—it’s a necessity. Be it navigating industry complexities or seizing the next big opportunity, JC Consulting’s experienced consultants in finance recruitment, life sciences recruitment, and various industries are committed to helping you make informed decisions that drive your success.

    Drop our team a message today for personalised advice or a deeper dive into this week’s key takeaways, or check out more market insights from the team.