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CICC hires a top Citi analyst in Hong Kong, makes him China team head

CICC has hired senior research analyst Nelson Wang from Citi in Hong Kong, in the latest sign that Chinese banks are building their equities teams in the city and are able to lure candidates from Western competitors.

Wang has joined CICC as head of China oil and gas research, having led research within the same sector during a stint of just nine months in Citi’s Asia Pacific oil, gas and petrochemicals group, according to his online profile.

His new bank has tasked him with coverage of Chinese oil majors, including companies in the oilfield-service, refining and petrochemical, equipment and engineering, pipeline-operating, and city-gas distribution sectors. China’s expanding energy industry is an important coverage area for banks in Hong Kong. Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation, for example, respectively rank as the second and third largest oil and gas companies globally by 2017 revenues.

Despite the rise of electronic trading, analysts covering Chinese stocks – especially in hot sectors such as energy and technology – remain sought after in Hong Kong. The stock connect programmes, continued liberalisation of China’s securities market, and index publisher MSCI’s landmark decision to include China-listed shares in its emerging-markets benchmark are helping to drive the hiring.

Recruitment of senior equity research analysts like Wang in Hong Kong is dominated by Chinese houses – including CICC – which are now increasingly able to poach from global institutions. This follows large-scale layoffs of equity traders, salespeople and researchers by US and European banks in Hong Kong.

Deutsche Bank made redundancies in its Asian equities team just last month, while Credit Suisse culled dozens from its regional equities operations last year after a slump in revenues. Barclays, along with several other banks, cut jobs in 2016. Citi, however, is not among the firms to have taken the axe to Asian equities.

Alongside potentially better job stability, Chinese firms typically offer new recruits more senior job ranks than they might have achieved at the same age at Western banks. Wang has only worked in the finance sector since 2011 but is now an executive director at CICC.

He began his career at BP in 2008 and spent three years there as an analyst, a stint that included a secondment in the company’s joint venture with Sinopec, according to his profile. Wang then cut his teeth as an oil and gas equity research analyst by spending six years at CLSA in Hong Kong.

Chinese banks in Hong Kong aren’t just staffing up on equity researchers; they are hiring traders, too. As we reported last month, Kenneth Taheny, Societe Generale’s former head of Asia Pacific cash equity sales trading, has just resurfaced at ICBC International in Hong Kong.

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Image credit:  EarnestTse, Getty

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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