China Construction Bank Unit to Boost Research Team by 40%

CCB International Securities Ltd., the brokerage arm of China’s second-largest bank, plans to expand its research team by as much as 40 percent to meet rising demand for analysis of Chinese stocks and economy.

The unit of China Construction Bank Corp. may hire as many as 20 people this year in the mainland and Hong Kong, Timothy Sun, managing director and co-head of research at the brokerage, said in an interview. That’s after an expansion last year that took staff strength to 50 from 10, he said.

CCB International joins rivals including UBS AG and ICBC International Holdings Ltd. in competing for talent as banks embark on a hiring spree to tap investors’ demand for financial services in the world’s second-biggest economy. The expansion plans are taking place as concerns about tighter monetary policies led to an 8.2 percent decline in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index from its Nov. 8 high to yesterday.

“The recent decline in the market will not scale back hiring at CCBI’s research team,” Sun said. “Short-term volatility in the market will not deter its goal to establish one of the strongest research teams in the market.”

Customers in Australia, Singapore and the Middle East are demanding more analysis and trips into China, Sun said. There’s also increasing interest from Chinese fund managers under the qualified domestic institutional investor, or QDII, program, he said.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest lender, aims to double the workforce at its China operations to as many as 1,200 people over the next five years, Yoon Chi-Won, the co-head of the company’s Asia-Pacific unit, said this week. South Korea’s Samsung Securities Co. plans to hire as many as 20 people in Hong Kong to bolster its Asian business.

Hiring Spree

Paul Schulte, previously at Nomura Holdings Inc., joined CCB International as its global head of financial strategy and Asia banks research in September. The brokerage also hired Tim Bacchus, formerly from Macquarie Group Ltd., Clarisse Pan from Nomura, and Xin Zhao from Cazenove Asia Ltd. in 2010, Sun said.

Standard Chartered Plc completed the purchase of Cazenove Asia in 2009.

“We’re particularly strong in areas such as banks and property, where we add tremendous value simply because we’re China’s second-largest bank,” Sun said. The team is looking to expand to cover the pharmaceutical industry, he said.

The bank’s network will help the brokerage offer better macro analysis, said Peter So, co-head of research at CCB.

Japan’s government yesterday released data that show China overtook it to become the world’s No. 2 economy in 2010. Still, the Shanghai index plunged 14 percent last year after the government ordered banks to set aside more reserves and boosted interest rates to tame inflation.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecast losses in China’s stock market will persist on concern of tighter monetary policies.

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