Goldman Sachs has promoted Stephen Wong to chairman of investment banking in Hong Kong, according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia on Wednesday, after the US investment bank landed a string of high-profile deals and further integrated its China teams.
Wong was previously Goldman Sachs's head of coverage for Hong Kong investment banking clients, a role he has held since 2011. In his newly created position he will continue to cover many of the US bank's most significant clients in the territory.
Wong's close connections with the Fung family helped Goldman Sachs land a role on OCBC’s $5 billion purchase of one of Hong Kong’s few remaining family-run banks, Wing Hang. Goldman Sachs advised Wing Hang on the deal, which was the largest acquisition of a financial institution in Hong Kong since 2001 and the largest take-private in Asia since 2008.
In his new role Wong will work closely with Kate Richdale, head of investment banking services for Asia excluding Japan, and Ning Hong, chairman of investment banking for Greater China.
Goldman Sachs has been steadily integrating its mainland China and Hong Kong businesses as their financial markets become increasingly intertwined. Its equity capital markets team, for instance, is now fully integrated, offering Chinese clients even-handed advice on whether to list on the mainland's A-share market or the territory's H-share market.
Wong himself already works with mainland China-headquartered companies such as China Resources Group and Country Garden.
He is heavily involved in China Resources Land’s $2.4 billion asset injection from China Resources Holdings, which is expected to complete early this year, as well as in Country Garden’s $410 million rights issue last year and Hang Lung Properties' $1.4 billion block trade in 2010.
“His intense client focus has helped to drive the growth and success of our business in the region,” Goldman Sachs said in the memo.
Bumper business and baseball
Goldman Sachs won FinanceAsia’s award in 2014 for Best Foreign Investment Bank in Hong Kong after playing a leading role on a plethora of landmark deals. One of the most eye-catching was as sell-side adviser to Hutchison Whampoa on its sale in March of a $5.7 billion stake in its health and beauty retail subsidiary AS Watson to Temasek, the largest M&A deal in Hong Kong since 2008.
Goldman Sachs also won a coveted role on another of Li Ka-shing’s companies last year as one of two banks on one of the territory’s largest initial public offerings since 2010: Hong Kong Electric’s $3.1 billion share sale in January.
The deal had a rocky debut due to investor skittishness over the Federal Reserve’s gradual lifting of its bond-buying programme but Goldman helped to make it a success by securing $1.1 billion cornerstone investment from State Grid. It was the largest single-cornerstone investment since the IPO of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010.
Wong, who grew up in San Francisco and is an avid baseball fan and collector of baseball artefacts, has spent his entire banking career in Hong Kong.
Wong, who is in his forties, joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 as an executive director in ECM and was named managing director in 2007.
He joined the US bank after a career break during which he researched and wrote a book on baseball. called 'Smithsonian Baseball'. He also wrote a book on baseball for kids that was published in 2007 and is working on a third baseball book between cutting deals. Many of the baseball artefacts on display in the American Club Hong Kong are on loan from him.
Before that he was an executive director at Morgan Stanley in ECM in Hong Kong between 1997 and 2002.
Wong earned a JD from Stanford Law School in 1992 and a BA in Economics from Hobart College in 1989.