Corporate banking in Asia is heating up with J.P. Morgan's appointment of Mark Wuscher to a new position as Asia-Pacific segment head for corporates in the bank's trade and treasury services business. The hire is J.P. Morgan's latest move as it seeks to create a global corporate bank.
Wuscher joins from Citi where he was a director and head of treasury and trade solutions within the global transaction services division in Korea. He has also worked in corporate sales and trade product management at Citi.
At J.P. Morgan, Wuscher will be based in Hong Kong and will be responsible for sales, product management and client service organisation for all of the bank's multinational and local corporate customers in the region. He will report to Simon Jones, the Hong Kong-based Asia-Pacific regional treasury services executive, and to Diane Quinn, the bank's New York-based global segment head for corporates who joined J.P. Morgan from Citi earlier this year.
"Our corporates segment is of critical importance to us as our client base has been rapidly increasing, and it will also be instrumental in the ongoing build-out of J.P. Morgan's global corporate bank as the firm is looking to strategically expand its corporate client franchise outside the US," said Jones.
Announced earlier this year, J.P. Morgan's new global corporate bank will sell loans and commercial banking services to multinationals and large local corporates. Daniel Cotti, global trade executive at J.P. Morgan, said in a recent interview with FinanceAsia that the new unit was a "joint venture between the investment bank and treasury and securities services".
According to the Financial Times, the US bank is investing more than $100 million and could hire as many as 300 bankers for the new global business line.
Wuscher's appointment at J.P. Morgan is the latest sign of increasing competition among banks for corporate business in Asia. Alongside regional heavyweights Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also vying for a slice of the action, hiring Tim Fleming as head of corporate treasury sales from Citi in March.
Regional banks are also expanding their treasury offerings for corporates. Tom McCabe, the new global transaction services head at DBS, has said that he intends to double the revenues of the transaction banking business in three years. Melbourne-based ANZ also has big plans for Asia, and targets a 20% net profit contribution from the region by 2012.
The pie for corporate banking in Asia is growing. Western multinationals are looking for growth in the region as, in many cases, their home markets stagnate and local companies are pursuing ambitious growth plans, both in Asia and abroad. All these moves require significant amounts of capital and investment. However, as an increasing number of international banks target the market and competition heats up, pricing will decline, which raises questions over which banks will succeed and which will not.