Westpac has hired Michael Kang to fill a newly created post in Hong Kong as it builds out a larger debt capital markets team in Asia.
Kang has joined the Australian bank from RBS, where he spent the past six years covering Asia. In his new role he will be a director of DCM and syndicate.
He will report to Russell Baines, the bank's regional head based in Singapore, who has been at the bank for two years after transferring from BNP Paribas where he had spent the previous decade.
The team includes a third member based in Singapore, Kasser Khan, who also works on syndicate.
Westpac has been trying to forge a niche for itself bringing Asian issuers to the Kangaroo market and leading Australian-dollar EMTN issues. Most recently it was one of three bookrunners for China Commercial Bank's $81 million equivalent New Zealand dollar denominated offering in June.
In March it was sole lead on a $115 million equivalent Australian dollar denominated issue for agricultural trader Olam, which is owned by Temasek. This 4.875% 2020 deal is currently trading on a mid yield of 4.343%.
Finally, the bank was one of four leads on a $236 million equivalent Australian dollar denominated deal for OCBC Sydney's branch in February.
According to data provider Dealogic, Westpac has raised $1.9 billion for Asian issuers since January 2014. A total of 10 issues includes transactions for China's BOC Aviation and Malaysia's CIMB Bank.
Nearly all of Westpac's DCM business is concentrated in Australian dollars whereas ANZ has a far stronger presence in US dollars. It has been trying to take advantage of the increasing internationalisation of Asian banks and particularly the Chinese, which have been setting up branch offices in Australia and New Zealand to cater for growing trade links between the two countries.
However, potential Australian dollar-denominated issuance has been impacted by the falling Australian dollar, which has been crushed by depressed commodity prices. On Wednesday the AUD/US fell below a key 0.72 support level.
In a research note, RHB said it remained mildly bearish on the Australian dollar as it believes the Royal Bank of Australia will remain dovish on interest rates even though local labour markets are showing signs of resilience.