UBS China JV bolsters team with senior hire

The promotion of a new senior relationship manager is the latest step in UBS's effort to capture the increasing opportunities in equities and FX, rates, credit businesses in China.

UBS Securities on Thursday named David Xu as senior relationship manager across investor client solutions to bolster the Swiss bank’s onshore equities franchise in the country.

In his new role, Xu will strengthen UBS’s China client franchise and enable the joint venture to integrate with the banks global functions for client relationships, according to a memo seen by FinanceAsia. His promotion is the last step by UBS to expand its senior relationships management function in Asia Pacific in 2017.

The appointment comes in as UBS seeks to strengthen its onshore presence in China at a time when more and more global banks are setting up onshore platforms through Chinese joint ventures in the hope of benefitting from future loosening of China’s capital controls.

The bank said last year it planned to double headcount in China in the next five years, adding about 600 staff to its existing operations in the country.

HSBC is the latest global bank to participate in that wave as it finally won its long-waited green light for HSBC Qianhai Securities.

In 2012 Chinese regulators increased the percentage equity foreign investors can hold in Chinese securities houses to 49% from 33%. UBS holds 25% of its onshore entity, UBS Securities, after it completed the purchase of a 4.99% stake from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.

Xu will be still based in Shanghai and report to Thomas Fang, head of equities in China, and Kevin Arnold, head of senior relationship manager, as well as his local general manager at UBS Securities, who was not named in the memo.

Xu joined UBS securities as head of equities sales in 2015 and was made head of equities in 2016, according to the memo. He has been overseeing UBS Securities’ equities franchise over the last few years, during which time he maintained deep relationships with some of the bank’s most important clients in China.

In addition, the memo said Ken Chen would replace Xu as head of equities, resuming a role he held before he left UBS Securities some seven years ago.

With more than 20 years of experience in the region, Chen’s latest role was the head of Asia-Pacific equity research at BNP Paribas. He will rejoin UBS Securities in August and report to the JV’s local general manager and to Thomas Fang.

Xu will remain the head of equities until regulators approve Chen’s appointment. 

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