Commerzbank expansion

Commerzbank targets Asia for growth

Commerzbank is growing its Asia business aggressively, yesterday announcing 14 new hires it has made during the past three months.
Jason Chauval, Commerzbank
Jason Chauval, Commerzbank

Commerzbank has made several senior hires as it continues to increase professional staffing levels in its main Asian offices. Most of the recent appointments are for new roles in its fixed-income and currencies (FIC) division, and its equity markets and commodities (EMC) division, and have taken place since the end of April, building on a recruitment process that started a year ago.

Prominent hires include Mark Portlock and Jason Chauval in the bank’s foreign exchange business; and Joseph Xie and Alvin Giang in a newly created China-based local markets operation.

Commerzbank now employs around 100 professionals in the major financial centres of Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo, and intends “to strengthen its position as a strong banking partner in the region, with a selective and client-driven approach”, according to Nick Johnston, head of corporates and markets, Asia.

The German bank aims “to be relevant to its core European clients when doing business or investing in Asia, along with providing Asian investors with a meaningful window into Europe”, he added.

The FIC division has received the bulk of the new resources. At the start of May, Portlock was hired as head of FX spot trading, Asia, based in Singapore. He reports locally to Paul Durrant, head of FIC trading, Asia, and globally to Christian Drueke, head of FX spot. Portlock has been in the foreign exchange market for more than 17 years, working most recently for UBS in Singapore as a senior FX spot trader.

Jason Chauval joined the eFX trading team in Singapore in mid-May as head of e-options and algorithmic trading for Asia. He has had a 25-year career in the business, including five years developing and implementing systematic trading models across FX and futures markets. Before joining Commerzbank he was head of eFX trading for ANZ in Melbourne. He reports into Paul Scott, head of eFX based in Singapore.

Hidetaka Namiki has joined the FIC trading team in Singapore, as a US Treasuries trader. He has spent 20 years in the capital markets and was most recently at Cantor Fitzgerald in Singapore. He reports to Paul Durrant, head of FIC trading, Asia.

In mid-June, Joseph Xie and Alvin Giang joined the newly established local markets trading team in Shanghai. Xie has worked in the financial markets since 2003, most recently for UBS in Beijing. Giang joined Commerzbank from ANZ Bank in China, where he was head of rates and balance sheet. Both Xie and Giang report to Abnash Grewal, head of local markets.

Peter Phelps is another addition to the FIC trading desk, where he takes on a role in the FX forwards team in Singapore. Phelps has two decades of experience in the foreign exchange markets and was most recently at Societe Generale in Australia. He reports to Paul Durrant, head of FIC trading, Asia.

The FIC sales division has recruited Desiree Ma as head of corporate sales international, South China, based in Shanghai, and she reports to Marcus Blake, head of corporate sales, Asia. Previously, she was associate director, global corporate sales, at Standard Chartered Bank in China.

Kwok Aun Tan has joined the FIC division from Standard Chartered as a director in the structured derivatives sales team, based in Singapore. He will focus on developing Commerzbank’s derivatives presence in the Singapore markets and now reports to Winston Quek, head of FX sales, Asia.

Jay Lee Jong-Song has been appointed to the FIC sales team in Singapore, with a remit to market FIC products to Korean clients. Jong-Song was most recently at Jefferies in Singapore, and has held positions at Knight Libertas, Calyon and Fortis Bank. He reports to Tan Kok Wee, head of FIC sales, Asia.

Patrick Bei has started in the FIC sales team in Hong Kong, covering China’s financial institutions market. He has more than 20 years of experience in the fixed income business, with a strong client focus on Chinese investment companies. Bei will also report to Tan Kok Wee.

In addition, there have been two significant appointments in the EMC division.

Maggie Chen has joined the Hong Kong office as head of institutional sales, Taiwan, reporting to Dennis Wan, head of institutional sales, EMC, Asia. Chen has spent the past two years working in Seattle for Lorig Real Estate, and before this held a similar role at Commerzbank in Hong Kong. She is tasked with driving the salesforce for Taiwan, with a focus on commodity structured products.

Kingston Lai was recruited to head EMC Southeast Asia sales. He is in the Hong Kong office, running sales operations for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Lai was previously at Societe Generale, Hong Kong, where he was head of structured products sales. He also reports to Wan.

Elsewhere, Charlie Lay has been hired as an emerging Asia FX and rates strategist reporting to Michael Ganske, head of emerging markets research. Lay is responsible for broadening Commerzbank’s emerging markets research in the region and is based in Singapore. He has held roles at ING, Credit Suisse and most recently at Forecast.

And, finally, Eunice Tan has been recruited as a client relationship manager, focusing on the insurance industry. Tan was previously an associate director at Standard & Poor’s covering financial institutions. She is based in Singapore and reports directly to Johnston, head of corporates and markets, Asia.

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