Sun, Jun 18, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Sun sets on British FILTH in Hong Kong as China deals beckon

By Darren Boey and Keri Geiger  /  Bloomberg

“Young junior bankers without language skills are so rare these days,” said Quinlan, 33, who now runs a financial consulting firm.

Most global banks have tried to bring in Chinese power brokers. Many of these bankers are not only bilingual, but also bicultural — products of elite Western universities who can move seamlessly between China and Wall Street.

Many also bring deep connections to China’s leadership and state-owned enterprises. Now mostly in their 40s and 50s, they include Morgan Stanley’s Wei Sun Christianson (孫瑋) and Credit Suisse Group AG’s Janice Hu (胡知鷙).

For the most part, divisional and regional leadership roles in Hong Kong are still held mostly by expatriates.

However, a new generation of Chinese financial professionals, most with language skills and many with top degrees, have filled the lower ranks — and seem destined to rise.

That is bad news for all expats, FILTH or otherwise.

“People here are very pragmatic and they will adjust their line of sight to where it allows them to make the most money,” Mullally said.

Two decades ago, Sullivan broke into Hong Kong finance as a 35-year-old British Royal Air Force veteran with no experience in the industry. He moved on from equity research into a successful career in sales trading, albeit one outside the big leagues of the Goldmans or Morgan Stanleys.

Now his career has taken another turn. After two years working for Chinese, overseeing sales trading at securities firm Haitong International Securities Group Ltd (海通國際證券), he was given his marching orders on May 31. His position had been made redundant.

He is looking for a new job in Hong Kong and says he has had some promising conversations with recruiters.

After 20 years, Asia is what he knows.

“I’ve got nothing in common with the UK now,” he said.

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