Credit Suisse has named Zhenyi Tang as its chief executive in China to oversee the bank’s onshore entities, a move that the bank hopes will allow it to catch up with foreign rivals in the region.
While trade war concerns mean that other banks are shrinking headcount in the region, Tang’s appointment comes as Credit Suisse expands in the Chinese market. In a statement on Monday, the bank said it had applied, in April, to increase its stake in its onshore securities joint venture to 51% and is still awaiting approval from Chinese regulators. It previously held a 33.3% stake in the JV.
This move is crucial for Credit Suisse's China strategy as the Swiss bank is playing catch up in the region. Swiss rival UBS received its approval from Chinese regulators in November last year.
UBS was the first foreign bank that was allowed to up its stake in its Chinese securities JV from an original 24.99% to 51%.
Foreign banks' exposure in China has shrunk in recent months due to uncertainties brought about by the US-China trade war. Tang, acting as a liason between the Swiss bank and Chinese regulators, could build the bank's onshore presence.
Zhenyi Tang has substantial Chinese capital markets experience. Before he joined Credit Suisse, Tang spent eight years at CITIC Group, most recently as the chairman of CLSA Hong Kong. Before that, he worked in China's Ministry of Finance for 17 years, including a secondment to The World Bank.
Tang will report to Helman Sitohang, Credit Suisse chief executive of Asia Pacific, and he will also be a member of the bank’s Asia Pacific operating committee.
"Zhenyi joins a long-standing Credit Suisse relationship with China and a key opportunity for the bank,” said Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse Group. “We remain committed to enabling the development of wealth and financial markets in China.”
Along with Tang’s appointment, Credit Suisse has also named Shan Li to the board of directors of Credit Suisse Group. Li is the second Asia-based member of the board of directors, alongside Kai S. Nargolwala.
Credit Suisse has both a securities and an asset management JV in China. Its asset management JV with ICBC, ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management, had Rmb1.3 trillion ($188 billion) assets under management at the end of last year.