OCBC has delivered on a promise made earlier this year to establish a global commodities finance presence in Hong Kong by hiring Lester Lam from ABN AMRO to lead the new team.
In April, Ng Chuey Peng, the Singapore-based OCBC managing director who heads up commodities finance across the bank, told Bloomberg that OCBC wanted to formalise a Hong Kong team this year. OCBC has tripled the number of trade finance customers since 2014, when Ng joined from ABN AMRO and started the commodities finance unit.
Lam has also moved from ABN, where he was a senior relationship manager, although his stint of about two years there did not coincide with Ng’s.
Prior to ABN, Lam was at Standard Chartered for almost 12 years, latterly (2014 to 2017) as a Hong Kong-based executive director in the solution structuring team for Greater China and Northeast Asia within transaction banking.
Lam also has a background in commodities, which explains his return to this sector at OCBC. He worked in Stan Chart’s commodity trading and agribusiness unit in Hong Kong from 2006 to 2014, initially as an associate director responsible for business origination, relationship management, credit assessment and financing solutions for commodity corporates. In 2009, Lam was promoted to director and managed a team that covered metals clients. Lam became unit head of metals and resources in 2013.
His new boss at OCBC, commodities finance head Ng, has built a team of relationship managers, controllers and processors in Singapore since 2014. She and Lam are likely to recruit similar people in Hong Kong, albeit on a smaller scale.
Lam started his banking career as a management trainee at HSBC in 2001 and became a vice president in commercial banking two years later.
Image credit: RomanBabakin, Getty
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