Get 40% Off
⚠ Earnings Alert! Which stocks are poised to surge?
See the stocks on our ProPicks radar. These strategies gained 19.7% year-to-date.
Unlock full list

Global finance chiefs to face tougher China questions at Hong Kong summit

Published 11/02/2023, 11:28 PM
Updated 11/03/2023, 12:13 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screen showing the Hang Seng stock index is seen outside Exchange Square, in Hong Kong, China, August 18, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

By Kane Wu and Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Global investment bank and asset manager chiefs are reuniting in Hong Kong next week amid geopolitical tensions and China's economic slowdown, seeking to redefine their position in the world's second-largest economy and its offshore financial hub.

The Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit, a flagship event hosted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, begins on Monday with participants including Goldman Sachs Chief Executive David Solomon, Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman, Citigroup's Jane Fraser, as well as HSBC's Noel Quinn and Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF)'s Bill Winters.

The heads of Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG), Citadel and others will also speak at the event, which focuses on the main theme of "living with complexity".

The executives are coming to Hong Kong as the city has shed hundreds of banking and asset management jobs because of the slowdown in China dealmaking and the tightened regulatory grip on the market since the inaugural summit last year. That meeting was billed as Hong Kong's comeback as a global financial hub following the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The main question in the mind of everybody when they come to Hong Kong is how is the Chinese economy performing and what would be the swings coming from there," said Diana Parusheva-Lowery, head of public policy and sustainable finance at the Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is only the 11th-largest venue for initial public offerings this year, with merely $2.7 billion raised through the third quarter, a shadow of its top position in most of the last decade. The territory's assets under management fell by 14% in 2022, official data showed.

Trading volumes have also slumped as foreign investors reduce exposure to a China they view as increasingly isolated by its opaque policies, struggling property sector and crackdowns on private enterprise.

"The structural slowdown in China's economy, the omnipresent risk that U.S.-China relations might take another leg down in the future, the questions about whether private mainland money now prefers Singapore, none of that has really changed," said Chris Beddor, Gavekal Dragonomics' deputy China research director based in Hong Kong.

"And senior people in the financial sector are keenly aware of those issues, even if they don't discuss them publicly," Beddor said.

STRING OF LAYOFFS

Hong Kong's financial job market, which saw an exodus of foreign employees during COVID, is unlikely to recover in the near term amid a challenging operating environment, recruiters and industry insiders say.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan have trimmed dozens of bankers based in Hong Kong and mainland China this year, with key China dealmakers among those laid off.

The surprise merger between Swiss banking rivals UBS and Credit Suisse resulted in a brutal 80% reduction in the Credit Suisse investment banking staff in Hong Kong in August.

Canada's largest pension fund CPP Investments also cut a number of Hong Kong-based staff members.

John Mullally, recruiter Robert Walters' Hong Kong managing director, said hiring in private banking remains active, helped by wealth coming out of China to Hong Kong after the border reopened.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screen showing the Hang Seng stock index is seen outside Exchange Square, in Hong Kong, China, August 18, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Hong Kong needs to be aware of competition from rival financial hub Singapore but Mullally expects Hong Kong to "regain some of the ground lost" despite the depressed dealmaking and trading.

(This story has been refiled to correct the spelling of CPP Investments in paragraph 13)

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.