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CLSA Plans Asean Platforms as New Owner Citic Aids China Access

CLSA Ltd.’s broker-dealer unit plans off-exchange electronic equity trading systems in Southeast Asian countries and hopes its new owner, Citic Securities Co., will help it offer clients access to Chinese markets.

The firm is examining the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore for crossing networks, Andy Maynard, CLSA’s global head of trading and execution, said in an interview in Hong Kong. The acquisition by Beijing-based Citic may allow CLSA to give its clients access to China through the qualified foreign institutional investor program, he said.

“I think people look at CLSA purely for events like” last week’s CLSA Investor Forum, which hosted soccer star David Beckham as a keynote speaker, Maynard said. “Which, epic as it is, I’d like us to be known as a broker, and a broker-dealer and a very good broker-dealer, rather than a research house, which we’ve been known as for a long long time.”

CLSA has captured 9 percent of off-exchange stock trading in Hong Kong since winning permission for the platform in July, he said. Citic, China’s largest broker by market value, completed its purchase of Credit Agricole SA’s CLSA unit, minus its Taiwan business, for $1.15 billion in August.

Maynard said he hopes Citic’s backing will help CLSA enter the prime brokerage business, supplying cash management and securities lending to large investors including hedge funds.

“We’d be completely left in the dark” in China without Citic, he said. “Now we’re part of the Citic family and there is a lot of cooperation we can offer Citic onshore in Shanghai and Beijing.”

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