Everbright said to hire top DBS banker Jerry Tse in Hong Kong push

Signage for China Everbright Bank Co. hangs outside a branch in Beijing, China. The bank is stepping up its expansion in Hong Kong with a slew of hires from competitors.
Signage for China Everbright Bank Co. hangs outside a branch in Beijing, China. The bank is stepping up its expansion in Hong Kong with a slew of hires from competitors.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - China's Everbright Securities Co, flush with cash from a US$1.1 billion (S$1.49 billion) share sale in Hong Kong, is stepping up its expansion in the city with a slew of hires from competitors.

Among the most senior is Mr Jerry Tse, the head of investment banking at Singapore's DBS Group Holdings, said people with knowledge of the matter.  MrTse will run the Shanghai-based firm's investment bank and principal investments business, they said. Mr Li Xin, former co-head of investment banking at BOC International (Holdings) Ltd., recently joined as chief investment officer and has been charged with developing Everbright's structured finance unit, the people said.

Chinese securities firms are mounting a challenge to western banks like Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, using the city as a stepping stone for further expansion. Chinese companies occupy seven of the top 10 positions in advising on Hong Kong initial public offerings this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A decade earlier, only China International Capital Corp made that list.

Mr Tse will join Everbright as early as October, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the appointments haven't been announced. He moved to DBS from Macquarie Group in 2013.

An Everbright spokesman in Shanghai declined to comment beyond saying the firm is "setting up relevant arrangement" for its expansion overseas. DBS declined to comment.

Everbright's expansion plan involves diversifying beyond the IPO business by boosting its investment banking and structured lending operations. It plans a push into fixed income, currencies and commodities, as well as merger advisory and debt capital markets, the people said. Everbright shares closed at HK$12.58 in Hong Kong on Monday, down 0.8 per cent from its August stock sale.

The securities firm has added 10 senior executives to the newly established structured finance and principal investment businesses since May, including four managing directors, the people said. The brokerage plans to hire an additional 10 bankers by the end of this year, and transfer staff from Sun Hung Kai Financial Ltd, the Hong Kong brokerage and wealth- management firm it bought in 2015, one of the people said.

Among the other senior bankers joining Everbright in Hong Kong recently are Mica Mak, formerly with Citic CLSA Securities, who has been appointed head of global capital markets, and Tang Jingwei, previously at China Construction Bank International Co, who has joined the structured finance group at Everbright as a managing director, the people said.

Everbright Securities set up its Hong Kong unit in November 2010 and bought a 51 per cent stake in Everbright Securities (International) Ltd. the following year. In an effort to catch up with rivals like Haitong Securities Co, it paid US$529 million for Sun Hung Kai & Co.'s securities and wealth-management businesses, and now employs about 150 people in Hong Kong. Another 40 employees involved in Everbright's overseas operations are based on the mainland, one person said.

Everbright Securities plans to spin off its Hong Kong unit between January 2017 and June 2018, according to its share sale prospectus. In February, the firm's parent company, China Everbright Group, bought the Dah Sing Financial Centre in Hong Kong for US$1.3 billion to provide office space for its overseas push.

In 2009, Shanghai-based Haitong Securities bought a majority stake in Hong Kong's Taifook Securities Co. for US$235 million, the first purchase of an overseas brokerage by a mainland securities firm. The deal was followed by Citic Securities Co.'s 2013 takeover of Hong Kong-based CLSA Ltd, which provides equity brokerage, research and asset-management services across Asia.