China's local securities firms are marching into Hong Kong. They are either are getting listed on Hong Kong's stock market (this is what GF Securities did in April), or they are expanding their teams by recruiting more staff. Huatai Securities is doing both.
Huatai listed in Hong Kong just this month, on 1 June. It boasts some high-profile "cornerstones" backers such as Sequoia Capital, Value Partners and Och-Ziff. The shares have been performing well. And it seems Huatai is hiring. A job advertisement has been circulating on WeChat asking for "talents from everywhere" to join Huatai's research desk in Hong Kong. The ad says Huatai is building up its research desk to "develop into a Chinese research platform that is as prestigious as that of any bulge bracket".
The ad stops short of specifying how many people Huatai is looking for and what exactly the job posts are. But we know that it's hiring across macro, equity strategy and in individual sectors. The requirements set were no clearer either, with only ambiguous phrases like "deep understanding of the sector", "fluency in both English and Chinese", "experience in servicing overseas institutional clients" and so on. However, Huatai did stress that it welcomes analysts with experience at the "research departments of global bulge bracket banks".
Interested candidates are asked to send applications directly to Lu Ting, head of Huatai's research and institutional sales. Lu's move was only revealed in March this year. Before joining Huatai, he was the chief greater China economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. His move was seen as a sign of Huatai stepping up efforts to raise its profile in overseas market.
China's A share market has been rising like crazy since Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect started in November, 2014. As a result, both global bulge bracket and local securities firms are suddenly hiring equity analysts. We previously reported that A share analysts are very popular in the job market now, as are H share analysts based in Hong Kong too. Investors have been dealing with Chinese local securities firms for many years. Due to client relationships and languages issues, they tend to stick to their local brokers even if they're investing overseas. This in turn is encouraging more and more local securities firms to expand in Hong Kong.
Lu Ting is not the only senior figure that Huatai has poached from global banks. Finance Asia revealed in March that Patrick Ngan, a veteran IBD banker at UBS, also joined Huatai as head of equity capital markets not long ago. Public information shows that Ngan is based in Hong Kong as well, showing that Huatai IS serious about its business there.
Lu Ting did not immediately reply to a request for information about Huatai's expansion. With the stock market rising, now seems a good time for Chinese equity research analysts.