Morgan Stanley appoints co-heads of China IB

The US bank is restructuring its China investment banking team to adapt to its new China strategy.

Morgan Stanley has named Richard Chen and Jing Qian as co-heads of its China investment banking business, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Jing Qian joined the US bank in August as a managing director and head of China origination. She was previously co-head of China investment banking at Deutsche Bank. Qian has 15 years of experience advising a broad range of clients in a number of sectors.

Richard Chen was previously with Morgan Stanley’s China team but moved to the Asia-Pacific natural resources investment banking team last June as co-head. He is now moving back to head the China team along with Qian and will continue to maintain coverage responsibility for his existing clients.

Chen Shen will continue as head of the Asia-Pacific natural resources team.

“We are pleased to announce the following organizational changes, which are intended to better align our most experienced bankers with the firm’s needs,” according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley confirmed the content of the memo. 

The appointment comes after Alex To, former chairman of China investment banking at Morgan Stanley, left to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch in September. To joined Morgan Stanley in 2006 and focused on the consumer and retail industries in China.

The appointment of the co-heads for the China team will further consolidate the US bank’s investment banking business in China.

Morgan Stanley started restructuring its China investment banking strategy last year. Similar to other regional teams, bankers in the China team now need to have specific sector responsibilities and report into global industry teams, according to one source. In the past, these bankers were thought of as Chinese client-relationship coverage specialists without sector expertise.

China, which drives much of the investment banking activity and revenue for many banks in the region, is a critical market for banks. Chinese companies have been active in offshore acquisitions and have also been tapping the debt capital markets heavily. In addition, banks are keen to play a role in the restructuring of Chinese state-owned enterprises and embracing of private capital.

There has been significant movement among the ranks of senior China investment bankers recently.  

Henry Cai, Deutsche Bank’s executive chairman of corporate finance for Asia-Pacific, is in discussions about leaving investment banking, according to industry sources. Cai is approaching retirement age and is expected to leave the German bank around February and take up several boardroom seats instead, a source said.

In July, JP Morgan hired David Li as a senior country officer for China. Li was previously chairman and country head for China at UBS and had worked at the Swiss bank for nine years. 

In June, Credit Suisse appointed Steven Wang within its investment banking department as head of consumer, retail and healthcare for greater China, a newly created role for the bank. Prior to that, he was a managing director in the China investment banking team at UBS.

Morgan Stanley’s Asia (ex-Japan) investment-banking division had generated $313 million net revenue as of November 24, ranking fifth among global banks. Its China IB remains the second among banks with its year-to-date net revenue almost doubled from last year's $174 million, according to data provider Dealogic.

Additional reporting by Alison Tudor-Ackroyd

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