UBS to Swap Hong Kong, Beijing Bankers to Integrate China Teams

  • Offshore China advisory head to lead domestic business
  • Onshore investment-banking heads to shift to Hong Kong

UBS Group AG will shift the heads of its onshore China investment-banking unit from Beijing to Hong Kong, while its offshore advisory head for the country Jiang Guorong will move in the opposite direction, as the bank tries to more closely integrate its Chinese businesses.

Ding Xiaowen and Bi Xuewen, who oversee corporate client solutions for UBS Securities Co., the firm’s Chinese venture, will join the China investment-banking team in Hong Kong, according to an internal memo. Jiang will shift to Beijing to head corporate client solutions on the mainland once he has the required license, according to the memo, which was confirmed by Rob Stewart, a Hong Kong-based spokesman.

The moves will help the Swiss bank strengthen collaboration between the offshore and onshore teams and develop bankers’ capabilities to do international deals, according to the document. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. integrates its China teams by assessing its Beijing-based bankers the same way as its bankers globally and paying all of them from one fee pool.

“China is the largest opportunity in the region and clients tell us that being properly integrated across both the domestic and international business is critical,” Matt Hanning, Asia-Pacific head of investment banking, said in an e-mail. “We will continue to invest in our team and our platform.”

Advisory Fees

UBS’s corporate-client solutions group is responsible for merger advisory, capital markets and financing for companies, financial institutions and private-equity firms.

Overall, UBS was paid $156 million in advisory fees by Chinese firms this year, up from $132 million a year earlier, ranking it seventh among all investment banks and first among international peers, according to New York-based research firm Freeman & Co.

The Swiss bank’s 2015 fees from China are 49 percent more than the amount earned by Goldman Sachs, UBS’s closest competitor of onshore business, according to Freeman’s data. The two banks were the first foreign firms given management control of their local China ventures before the government put a moratorium on new licenses in September 2006.

UBS was the top foreign brokerage arranging domestic Chinese equity and bond sales this year, with fees of $63 million, up 85 percent from the same period last year, according to Freeman. The fees on such sales overseas fell 44 percent to $50 million, according to the research firm.

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