HSBC names Asia point man for central banks

HSBC hires former UBS banker Rami Hayek to cover central banks, reserve managers and SWFs as these large investors ramp up activity in the region.

HSBC has named Rami Hayek as its head of coverage of central banks and reserve managers across the Asia-Pacific region to capture more business as these large investors ramp up activity in the region.

Hayek will also co-head sovereign wealth and public funds coverage alongside Michael Bevan, whose appointment HSBC announced last October, HSBC said in an internal memo on Tuesday seen by FinanceAsia.

Increased interest from sovereign wealth funds and large institutional investors in a wider array of investment opportunities in Asia is shaking up how investment banks deploy their people.

Elsewhere Deutsche Bank created a new role for Ashok Pandit as head of sovereign wealth funds and institutional client coverage, effective February 1.

For the past few years SWFs such as Temasek, GIC, CIC, Khazanah Nasional and Norges Bank, very large pension funds like Ontario Teachers, Malaysia’s EPF and big institutions such as BlackRock have each played an increasingly important role in capital market transactions in Asia.

In this, they have often taken the traditional route of participating as a cornerstone or anchor investor in Asian IPOs. An example of this is Norges Bank’s decision to back the IPOs of China Cinda Asset Management and China Huishan Dairy late last year.

But they are increasingly also participating in private placements, where companies sell shares to a small group of around 10 investors, and making sizeable pre-IPO investments, such as Temasek’s purchase of Alibaba stock in 2011 and BlackRock’s investment in Formula One in 2012.

HSBC conducted a survey published in June of 69 central banks responsible for 57% of global reserves. Of these managers 73% (16) said they envisaged increasing their exposure to emerging markets over the next 12 months. More than half of the managers said the renminbi looked more attractive than 12 months ago and 20 had invested in renminbi, versus seven respondents a year ago. [See chart at end of story]

As an example of how really big institutional investors are ramping up their presence in this area, BlackRock recently appointed former Morgan Stanley banker Scott Greenberg to head its global capital markets team in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bankers see an opportunity in helping to match these investors to suitable companies — at the same time as helping their Asian corporate clients raise capital. Issuers are finding sales of shares to small groups of investors simpler and more private than widespread offerings, say bankers.

Most of HSBC’s dealings with Hayek’s clients involve flow business. The British bank did hold an event for sovereign investors in Hong Kong during June to discuss the macroeconomic outlook, asset allocation strategies, trends in emerging markets, opportunities and risks in China and prospects for fixed income and equity as asset classes.

There were more than 50 participants from four continents, 20 markets and countries as diverse as Austria, Nigeria and Qatar.

Hayek resurfaces
Hayek will report locally to Olivier de Grivel, global co-head of HSBC’s financial institutions group, and functionally to Christian Deseglise, global head of central banks and co-head of SWF and public funds.

Previously, Hayek was head of client coverage Asia Pacific for UBS and had responsibility for managing and developing the firm’s client franchise and relationships while promoting cross-divisional client coverage across the region.

Hayek was also a member of the UBS Asia Pacific Management Committee. He left the Swiss bank in 2012. Hayek joined UBS from Credit Suisse in Hong Kong where he was the head of distribution and product management for asset management for Asia Pacific.

Previously Hayek worked in the UK for Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank and Bankers Trust.

Hayek has an honours degree in business administration, majors in finance and economics, from the American University of Beirut and is fluent in English, French and Arabic.

Survey of reserve managers 
Sources: Central bank publications & HSBC survey 2014. Double click for full view


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