China’s top bankers

Posted on September 6, 2012


Andrew Au is Chief Executive Officer of Citi in the People’s Republic of China, and is responsible for the performance of all of Citi’s businesses in China. Mr Au has held his current position since May 2008, and is based in Shanghai. Mr Au was previously Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Citi Asia Pacific.

Investment banking in China is a unique proposition. The much over-used term, guanxi (or relationships), is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to know the players not just to win a deal, but also to get it to clear regulatory hurdles [read: how to bribe efficiently/effectively, and how to get corruption going smoothly].

You also need to read tea leaves: who can (and is willing) to make a decision changes, sometimes rapidly. And you need to be able to make a case for new regulations, products and policies — an argument couched in economic and political language that makes sense to a variety of people who could block your efforts. And while you do all this, you need to keep a low profile. But to do more in the future, you need to be well known.

Many of the people who made our list of influential decision makers — either as investment banking rainmakers or economists and regulators with vision or bankers building global franchises in China — have been nurturing the investment banking landscape in China for the past 20 years. In due course, investment banking in China will be no different than it is in Hong Kong, London or New York, and people will forget (or never even know) how difficult it was to pave the way, unless we salute the path breakers now.

We are featuring 10 individuals from the list today and will publish the remaining 20 during the next two days.


Shanghai-based Andrew Au has been running Citi’s China business since 2008 and during his tenure it has grown rapidly. In 2011, under Au’s stewardship, the bank’s China revenues and operating profit grew by double-digits. Au pioneered Citi’s global China desk programme, designed to support Chinese companies expanding their businesses internationally. And he ensured that Citi was the first global bank to win approval to launch a proprietary cards business in China, encompassing both commercial cards and retail credit cards. Au has also overseen the launch of a series of lending companies in recognition of the need for credit in under-served regions and counties in China. Critics say Citi is behind the curve on the securities front — it only just received approval this year to establish a securities joint venture with Orient Securities, a local Shanghai brokerage firm owned by the city’s municipal government. But Au’s focus has been on building a business that supports large local and international companies, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and he’s focused on retail banking services, such as smart banking outlets, that differentiate it from the hordes of existing banks. In short, Au’s plan to build the business has been in keeping with Citi’s strengths, which is good for both China and Citi.


With almost 20 years of China investment banking experience, Catherine Cai is at the front line of helping Chinese companies on capital raising and advisory across both private companies and state-owned enterprises.

Her philosophy throughout her career has been to put client interests first, build with a sustainable long-term view and to closely follow the development of the companies she advises.

Her experience has mirrored the dynamic growth and evolution of the Chinese financial landscape during the past two decades. Since joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch 12 years ago, she has played a critical role in originating and executing a number of landmark IPO and M&A transactions. These have included deals for China Telecom, China Mobile, PetroChina, Cosco, CNOOC, China Merchants Bank, Bank of Communications, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Kunlun Energy, Beijing Enterprises, China Eastern Airlines and Citic Securities, among many others.

Catherine’s contribution and counsel to many of China’s leading corporations are reflected in a roster of longstanding client relationships and an extensive network of CEOs, government officials and influential investors.


Henry Cai has been dedicated to corporate reform for Chinese industrial and commercial enterprises since the 1980s. Cai was closely involved in

many of the first wave of Chinese enterprises to be listed on the Hong Kong H-share market and US stock exchanges, including the 1993 listings of Shanghai Petrochemical and Tsingtao Beer. And he has played an important role in drafting and amending many legal and regulatory standards, including the PRC Enterprise Law and PRC Securities Law. In recent years, Cai played a role in a number of milestone IPOs and M&A deals for Chinese state-owned enterprises such as Bank of China, China Merchant Bank, China Minsheng Bank, China Pacific Insurance and Shanghai Pharma. Since the 1990s, Cai has made significant contributions to the establishment and development of many Chinese private enterprises, which earned him the nickname “the grandfather of Chinese capital markets”.

Cai takes the view that Chinese private enterprises should be the driving engine of China’s economy, and China enterprises should enjoy a China premium. In total, Cai facilitated the financing of more than $25.8 billion by Chinese private enterprises, and some deals have even become case studies in Harvard’s MBA courses.


Wei Sun Christianson has led Morgan Stanley in China since 2006, last year expanding her China CEO role by also becoming Co-CEO for Asia-Pacific, alongside Bill Strong. Under her leadership, last June Morgan Stanley launched its China domestic securities business, Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities. In May that year, it announced the formation of a local currency private equity fund management company, and both new platforms built on the firm’s existing onshore footprint in China, which includes commercial banking, asset management and trust services. Today, Morgan Stanley has more onshore business licences in China than any other global investment bank, in no small measure down to Christianson.

Before joining Morgan Stanley, Christianson played an important role in creating the Hong Kong listing rules for Chinese IPOs, when she worked at the SFC in the 1990s. Since she joined Morgan Stanley in 1998, Christianson has been involved in, and led the executions of, many landmark China privatisations, including Sinopec, China Life, Chalco, Sinotrans and China Oilfield Services. She has also led the execution of several significant M&A transactions by overseas listed Chinese companies.


Fang Fang, who has been instrumental in driving J.P. Morgan’s China strategy, is undoubtedly one of the most influential people working at a foreign bank in China.

During his career he has worked on projects at the finance ministry, been CFO at a state-owned conglomerate and was appointed as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 2008. As the only Wall Street representative in China’s upper house he has advocated for the internationalisation of the renminbi and helped position Hong Kong as a launch pad for Chinese companies looking to invest overseas.

At J.P. Morgan, Fang led the team that worked on the first “A-then-H” simultaneous listing of a Chinese company (China Railway Group’s $5.6 billion IPO); the first perpetual convertible preferred financing by a Chinese company (the $900 million issuance by Sino Ocean Land); and the first hostile takeover by a Chinese state-owned entity of a listed company in the West (Sinosteel’s $1.3 billion acquisition and privatisation of Midwest Corporation in Australia).

Earlier in his career, he led the finance function at Beijing Enterprises Holdings, an investment holding conglomerate whose listing in Hong Kong in 1997 was the hottest IPO on record at the time. While there, he also pioneered the country’s first venture capital fund in 1999.



Named by FinanceAsia in 2003 as one of the Top Ten Influential Leaders of China’s Capital Markets, Fenglei Fang has been a pioneer in the country’s investment banking industry since its inception. He’s one of those dealmakers one shouldn’t take lightly: he may come across like the former People’s Liberation Army soldier he was, but he is also one of China’s savviest dealmakers.

He was an architect in the establishment of the country’s first investment banking joint ventures, having co-founded China International Capital Corporation in 1995 — but in due course he left the venture that seemed hampered by cultural challenges. Then he worked at the Hong Kong investment banking arms of Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, before he struck another ground-breaking deal — setting up Beijing Gao Hua Securities, Goldman Sachs’s joint venture partner in China in 2004. Cynics warned that Goldman would be burnt, and he’d leave them too. They crowed when Fang stepped back from day-to-day duties at Goldman Sachs and launched the Hopu fund in 2007. But Fang still owns a stake in that Goldman venture and remains the chairman. To boot, Goldman (and also Singapore’s Temasek) were cornerstone investors in Hopu’s first $2.5 billion fund, proving he was a dealmaker unparalleled.


Hu Zhanghong is the principal founder of CCB International (CCBI), which is the wholly-owned investment banking unit of China Construction Bank — the world’s second-biggest bank in terms of market capitalisation.

Apart from being instrumental in the establishment of the company’s organisational and management structure, Hu has also been the mastermind behind CCBI’s hundreds of investment and financing projects. He provides a combination of his on-the-ground knowledge of the China market and its regulatory policy as well as global expertise. Under his stewardship, CCBI has played increasingly important roles as investor, sponsor, underwriter and financial adviser in the international capital markets. In 2009, the five-year-old CCBI took part in 27 equity transactions with a total value of $51 billion. In 2011, the bank completed 14 M&A projects with a total value of $2.4 billion. Hu also spearheaded a direct investment platform for CCB in Hong Kong — CCB International Asset Management.

You could say Hu is bringing up a child prodigy in China’s investment banking market.


If you don’t know Jun Ma, you should. He has published eight books and several hundred articles on the Chinese economy, global economy and financial markets. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 2000, Ma worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank from 1992-2000 and prior to that he was an economic research fellow at the Development Research Centre of China’s State Council. Ma has also been frequently invited by government agencies for policy discussions.

In August 2011, Ma was the first economist on the street to forecast a slowing China, noting the significant impact of the European crisis on China. The industry and many officials consider his research on renminbi internationalisation as a roadmap for the currency. And, indeed, a few of his policy recommendations have been adopted by decision-makers. For example, in May 2012, Ma was the first to warn that “pro-cyclical regulation was a downside risk to the economy”. The Chinese government subsequently relaxed some of its stringent risk guidance on lending. In short, when Ma writes, people listen.


Stephen Roach makes this list because his views on China help shape the political dialogue between China and the US. Roach was chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and the firm’s chief economist for 17 years — and in that role he led many road trips to China where he engaged with senior officials. His writing was widely disseminated in the international media, and he frequently presented expert testimony before the US Congress. In short, he influenced both China and US policymakers and business leaders. Now he’s a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and a senior lecturer at Yale’s School of Management, and a regular contributor to Project Syndicate. At Yale, he introduced new courses for undergraduate and graduate students on the “The Next China”, which means he’s arguably shaping the future leaders’ of the US thinking on China. His most recent book, The Next Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Globalisation, analyses Asia’s economic imbalances and the dangers of the region’s dependence on Western consumers. Roach says he is hard at work on his next book on the US-China economic relationship.


Minggao Shen has been shaping views on China inside and outside of the country. Shen is now Citi’s head of China research, but he also worked for a year-long stint (July 2008 to August 2009) as chief economist with Beijing-based Caijing magazine.

Prior to that, he was chief economist and director of economic and market analysis at Citi in China, taught at Peking University and worked as a research fellow at two policy arms of the Chinese government, the Research Centre for Rural Development and the Development Research Centre, both under the State Council, from 1988 to 2004.

Consider some of his calls: He is one of a few people that started to notice local government vehicle debt problems early on. He commented on it together with his former colleagues at Caijing at the start of 2008, almost a year before the market started to worry about it.

In June 2010, he wrote that China is likely entering a decade of wage inflation, with wages of unskilled labourers rising 15% to 20% a year, which has come to pass.

On the bright side, he also argues that the renminbi could become a global top-five currency by 2020.


Educated at Harvard and Stanford Universities, Jing Ulrich is one of the most prominent advisers to the world’s biggest asset management companies and multinational corporations. Her views influence the allocation of trillions of dollars of assets. She also serves as an adviser to Chinese institutions investing overseas. As a pre-eminent China strategist, she has been nicknamed the “Oprah Winfrey of the investment world”.

Jing Ulrich has received numerous accolades for her work as a China watcher. She was ranked as one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Global Businesswomen for the past three consecutive years. Forbes also named her one of the world’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Ulrich established J.P. Morgan’s Hands-on China series and a China investment forum routinely attracts thousands of global business and government leaders.


Helen Wong has spearheaded projects and new businesses that have supported the expansion of HSBC’s capital markets franchise in China. Under Wong’s leadership, HSBC now has 13 China desks overseas, covering all continents. This has provided important support to China state-owned entities and private sector companies doing businesses overseas.

Wong has been instrumental in driving the bank’s renminbi businesses, rolling out renminbi cross-border trade settlement across its domestic franchise. Wong and her team have been pioneers in China’s financial market reforms by participating in almost every market opening, including gold futures trading, RQFII custodianship and direct yen/renminbi trading. Also, on her watch, HSBC was the only foreign bank to be appointed joint coordinator for the fourth issuance of offshore renminbi sovereign bonds by China’s Ministry of Finance. Wong is involved with a number of government-led groups and industry associations, and is a member of the 11th Guangzhou Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as well as director of the China Banking Association’s Foreign Bank Working Committee.


Born in 1958, Xiao Gang is the youngest of the chairmen at the Big Four banks. He started his banking career at the People’s Bank of China, where he had several roles, including serving as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee.

His ability to deliver effective solutions under challenging circumstances has won him much praise and in 2003 he took the helm as chairman at China’s oldest bank. He is a strong advocate of a “going out” policy. He argues that in the midst of the continuing financial crisis, it is crucial for Chinese companies to explore global opportunities. Fortified by Xiao’s strategy, the lender retains its position as the most international bank China has ever produced. While all big commercial banks are striving to get a foothold in international markets, Bank of China already has branches all over the world.


Nomura has ambitions to be a global powerhouse and to that end Zhizhong Yang is responsible for driving the growth of the firm’s businesses in China. Given his track record, there’s good reason to believe he can do it.

Prior to joining Nomura, Yang worked at Lehman Brothers from September 2004 to September 2008. His team catapulted Lehman’s China investment banking division business into one of the leading franchises in the industry.

Under his stewardship, the firm handled landmark advisory roles for Chinalco in its historic $14.1 billion stake in Rio Tinto, for China Huaneng Group in its $3 billion acquisition of Tuas Power in Singapore, and for China Unicom in its $16 billion sale of its CDMA business and network to China Telecom. In capital-raising, Lehman Brothers served as a bookrunner on China Citic Bank’s $5.9 billion IPO, Sinopec’s $1.5 billion convertible offering, as well as many IPO and follow-on offerings for Chinese private sector companies.

Altogether, Yang has completed more than $100 billion in financing, M&A advisory and principal investment transactions in China during his 17-year career.

Yang started his career at Goldman Sachs’s principal investment division in 1994, and from 1998 to 2004 he was one of the key members of Morgan Stanley’s China investment banking team, where he held various roles including managing director and head of China corporate finance.


Nicole Yuen is well known within China’s capital markets, having helped to build UBS’s China equities team during the past decade. Indeed, she was the first foreigner to place an order for A-shares back in 2003 after playing an instrumental role in winning approval for UBS to enter the qualified foreign institutional investor scheme.

As well as establishing UBS’s equities platform in the mainland market, Yuen also has considerable experience in Hong Kong’s capital markets. In the 1990s she led the listing of a number of Chinese companies during the first wave of H-shares. During her 18-year career at UBS, she also took part in the early tranches of B-share listings on the Chinese stock exchanges.

The Harvard Law School graduate, who also worked as a partner at Clifford Chance in Hong Kong, has served on the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s listing committee, which is responsible for reviewing A-share listings, and to date remains the only foreign investment banker appointed to the panel.


Zhao Ju has been building businesses in China for years. He helped establish the domestic team of UBS Securities, which has consistently stood out as one of the leading foreign securities joint ventures since 2007. During the past six years with UBS, Zhao has led the team on dozens of landmark equity, bond and M&A transactions, including China Railway’s Rmb40.7 billion ($6.4 billion) A-share then H-share IPO, Petrochina’s Rmb66.8 billion A-share IPO, New China Life’s Rmb2.8 billion A-share plus H-share IPO, Sinochem’s $2 billion bond and Yanzhou coal’s A$3.3 billion buyout of Felix Resources.

Before joining UBS, Zhao was the head of investment banking at China Galaxy Securities. Under his leadership, Galaxy improved its league table position from out of the top 20 to top three for both renminbi equity and bond underwriting in China. Earlier in his career, Zhao spent more than six years with China Construction Bank, where he helped to build the foreign exchange and treasury division, and was responsible for CCB’s foreign exchange and debt issuance businesses. He also helped negotiate the establishment of CICC, which was CCB’s now-defunct joint venture with Morgan Stanley.


The world’s two most influential bankers are probably the head of the US Fed and the governor of the People’s Bank of China. The Fed’s Ben Bernanke oversees the global reserve currency, while Zhou Xiaochuan oversees the monetary system of a superpower-in-the-making and the balance sheet of the world’s most liquid financial institution — the Chinese government.

The 64-year-old has decades of experience in various state financial institutions and understands China’s financial markets inside and out. Although Zhou is not a member of the country’s top decision-making body,

The Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, he is a strong and vocal advocate on important issues such as interest-rate liberalisation and renminbi internationalisation, which are vital for China’s pursuit of sustainable development and global economic leadership.

Today’s Chinese banking system may still have room for improvement, but thanks to Zhou it remained resilient during the recent global financial crisis and the nation’s foreign exchange reserves gave it considerable protection against falling exports and flighty foreign investment.

Zhou, a respected academic in China, has also published several dozen monographs and more than a hundred articles in domestic and international publications.

It takes two to tango
The regulators making China’s economy danceSHANG FULIN


China’s top regulators don’t change often, so the appointments of Shang Fulin and Guo Shuqing as China’s chief regulators for the banking and securities industries marked the start of a new era.

Guo succeeded Shang as the top securities watchdog last November, when Shang moved to his new post at the China Banking Regulatory Commission. The two have different management styles but are both applauded as the fixers of China’s financial markets and both have critical tasks ahead.

Shang, 61, chaired the securities regulatory commission for nine years. The length of his stint alone makes him stand out. None of his predecessors stayed in the job for more than three years, such is the challenge it presents. The A-share market has been one of the most explosive issues in China, fuelled by limited investment channels and the excess savings of retail investors. So the nation’s chief securities regulator must cope with meddling from above as well as anger brewing from below.

Shang has held several senior economic roles, but has so far won most credit for his work at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). His most noted reforms paved the way for illiquid shares of state-owned enterprises to be traded on domestic stock markets, giving ordinary investors a slice of the big state-owned entities’ profits. He also introduced index futures, margin trading and the secondary trading board, allowing smaller and private companies to grow with China’s capital market.

Guo, meanwhile, is outspoken, which is rare among Chinese leaders. He often writes articles for economic periodicals, sharing his views on economic reforms in China. Before the appointment, Guo was the chairman of China Construction Bank. He was assigned to give the lender a facelift when it was preparing for a Hong Kong listing in 2005. And he did it well. Under his stewardship, the bank shook off its reputation for bad loans and scandals, and helped it to become a dynamic listed company that is now China’s second-biggest by market value after ICBC.

Only a few months after he took the helm of CSRC, Guo initiated effective measures to rescue the market. He has cut the trading fee by 25% and required under-performing companies to be removed from the bourse. He has also simplified the listing process and improved the transparency of listing-hopefuls, which all helped improve investor confidence and attract capital flows back to China’s languishing equity market.



Zhu is widely known in China as a guan er dai — the princeling son of a senior government official, former premier Zhu Rongji. In China, that is equivalent to being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. While he’s surely had advantages, Zhu has also earned respect. CICC’s growth into a Chinese investment bank with a broad and sophisticated product range owes much to Zhu. He joined in 1998, and within a decade the company’s net income and net profit grew by 16 times and 10 times, respectively. With broad investment banking expertise and strong ties with state-owned enterprises, Zhu has consistently played a leading role in a large number of landmark transactions, including the mobile assets acquisition of China Telecom, the IPOs of Sinopec, Chalco, China Telecom, China Netcom and China Life Insurance. Oddly, Zhu is a meteorologist by training, but this scientific background seems to have encouraged CICC’s research-oriented approach. Indeed, it has one of the biggest and most sophisticated equity research teams in China. Zhu also actively pushes CICC’s international development, and as a result the firm has set up offices in New York, London and Singapore, making it the first Chinese investment bank to gain such international presence.


Zhaohui Huang is CICC’s leading banker; he engineered the early restructurings and listings of large state-owned enterprises, and has also been involved on notable mergers and acquisitions, as well as landmark bond deals. When Huang joined CICC in 1998, he already had 10 years of experience working in China’s commercial banks. He was involved in ICBC’s re-organisation and later the lender’s massive $19 billion A-share plus H-share IPO in 2006, which was the first deal of its kind and the world’s biggest IPO at the time. Huang also participated in milestone IPOs of China Life, Dongfeng Automobile, Agricultural Bank of China, Everbright Bank and New China Life Insurance. Huang says that China’s economic success needs the support of dynamic domestic capital markets and investment banks — and he’s striving to deliver that.


Yicheng Xu is the architect of CICC’s M&A team. He built the bank’s M&A division from scratch and led the team to secure the top position in China M&A league tables from 2006 through 2010. His experience includes the Chinalco acquisition of a 12% stake in Rio Tinto, China Mobile’s acquisition of Paktel in Pakistan and China Mobile’s acquisition of People’s Telephone in Hong Kong. Xu also played an active role in the review, revision and drafting of regulations by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Information and Industries, and the Ministry of Commerce, making important contributions to the development of the Chinese M&A market.

In the early years of his banking career, Xu was primarily engaged in the restructuring and equity capital market transactions of Chinese telecoms companies. His notable deals include China Mobile and China Telecom’s IPOs. He also oversaw the acquisition of seven provincial operations by China Telecom (Hong Kong) from its parent group.

Goldman Sachs


Cai Jin-Yong has been involved in Chinese capital markets and merger advisory since the mid-1990s, leading many of Goldman Sachs’s key China transactions across different industries. Some of his key transactions include PetroChina’s $2.9 billion IPO in 2000, CNOOC’s $2.7 billion acquisition of a stake in a Nigerian oil block in 2006, a state grid-led consortium’s $4 billion acquisition of a Philippine power transmission concession in 2009, Agricultural Bank of China’s $22.1 billion IPO in 2010 and Sinopec’s $3.5 billion A-share convertible bond in 2011.

Further afield, Cai worked on CNOOC’s $1.5 billion acquisition of an interest in Tullow’s Ugandan assets in 2011 and Jinchuan Group’s $1.4 billion acquisition of South Africa’s Metorex in 2012.

Cai, who is a mainlander, joined Goldman Sachs in 2000 as an executive director in its advisory group.


Investors and officials look to Ha Jiming for insights into issues affecting China’s economy. You could say he sees both sides of the coin: he was the chief economist at CICC and so knows the ins and outs of how a major Chinese bank thinks. But he also worked for the IMF for more than a decade, so he knows how international agencies think too. His work at the IMF, including two years in Indonesia during the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, has given him a unique perspective on China in an interconnected global economy.


One of the firm’s few women partners in Asia, Stephanie Hui heads Goldman Sachs’s private equity business in China (and runs the Asian regional private equity business as well), overseeing investments in China for both Goldman Sachs’s offshore global funds and its domestic renminbi fund, which she helped set up and launch. Harvard-educated Hui started at Goldman in New York in 1995 and cut her teeth on some of the early China tech investments in the late 1990s. She was later heavily involved in the firm’s biggest ever investment (ICBC) and has since led investments into China Nepstar Drugstore and Hepalink Pharma, to name just a few deals. Today, she sits on the boards of nine Chinese investee companies.


Zhang Xing is one of the brains behind Goldman Sachs’s unique set-up in China — he co-founded Beijing Gao Hua Securities in 2004, which formed a joint venture with Goldman in the same year. Since then, Zhang has overseen Beijing Gao Hua’s expansion into different products and services and he also brought in international expertise through its partnership with the Wall Street firm.

Zhang’s career in the securities industry started during the late 1990s, when he left his government job to join CICC, where he worked closely with the regulator to reform China’s capital markets, including introducing follow-on offerings and the clawback mechanism in domestic initial public offerings.


Citic Securities


Wang Dongming is among the early group of “red bankers” China strived to produce to build its socialist market economy. He has led the investment banking unit of Chinese conglomerate Citic Group for more than a decade. Wang has held a series of senior positions in the state-owned entity, which was founded in 1979 and endorsed by Deng Xiaoping. Wang is the architect behind Citic Securities investing and financing projects. His strategy — accumulating resources from the sell-side, realising revenues from the buy-side and forming a cycle of mutual stimulation between the two — has proved successful. The firm stands out as China’s best all-round investment bank (in July, we awarded it China’s Best Investment Bank, Best Broker, Best Equity House and Best Bond House), surpassing its domestic competitors not only by the volume underwritten but also by its product innovation as well as the capability to deal with unprecedented complexity involved in deals. Wang has long harboured ambitions to build Citic into a global powerhouse; and the firm is one step closer to that goal after its successful listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.


Yin Ke is a veteran banker with experience and connections in both domestic and overseas capital markets. He started his career as assistant to the CEO of Shenzhen Stock Exchange when it was established in 1991, and ascended to the second seat of China’s top stockbroker. Yin is the person behind Citic’s ambition to become a heavyweight investment bank in the global market.

He played a leading role in the brokerage’s milestone investment in Credit Agricole’s Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA. Citic paid $310 million to the French bank for a 19.9% stake in CLSA, the Beijing-based broker is now waiting for regulatory approval to buy the remaining 80.1% for $942 million. The investment is supposed to provide Citic with direct access to many of the world’s largest institutional investors. If this deal is cleared, it will be the first acquisition of a foreign broker by a Chinese competitor, which is obviously a milestone for Citic and China’s investment banking sector as a whole.

Citic’s years of steady growth and its successful Hong Kong listing have been profitable: it is sitting on plenty of cash. There are many reasons to believe China’s biggest homegrown broker will gain a large foothold on the global stage, and Yin is the person to watch to check that progress.




Jiang Jianqing may be the head of China’s biggest bank, but he started out as a labourer in China’s countryside. That experience has provided fortitude and patience, just what one needs to straighten a wobbly banking giant and chair a team serving the biggest group of industrial and commercial clients.

He joined ICBC in 1984 as a clerk and climbed his way up. Thanks to his leadership, the once nearly insolvent lender has become the world’s most profitable bank, with assets on par with large Western counterparts. Indeed, in 2006 ICBC floated shares on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges via a popular $19 billion dual listing; the deal was the world’s largest IPO at the time. Jiang is not complacent. What’s clear is that he is determined to build ICBC into one of the most respected banks in the world.

Jiang has held other senior roles in China’s banking circles, which makes him a mentor for many. In short, he has changed the prospect of China’s banking industry, as well as the aspirations of blue-collar workers across China.


Lee Zhang joined ICBC in May 2010 to “follow a government call” after a 10-year stint as China chairman at Deutsche Bank. Beijing rarely summons talent from foreign institutions to fill leading posts at top banks, suggesting that Zhang has the confidence of Chinese authorities, who recognise the need for international expertise to improve China’s banks. During his time at Deutsche, Zhang gained much of his fame from ICBC’s record-breaking $19 billion IPO, for which his team at the European bank was one of the bookrunners. He also helped arrange the popular IPOs for China Life Insurance and China Shenhua Energy. Zhang was instrumental in building Deutsche Bank’s platform in China, including securing licences to conduct just about every kind of business, except for secondary equity market trading. Now he’s helping to build a world-class Chinese bank as Zhang also holds the role of the chairman of ICBC International, the investment banking arm, and vice-chairman of Standard Bank Group, in which ICBC has a 20% stake.

Finance Asia