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Western firms looking to expand and recruit in China

Posted on December 2020

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Goldman Sachs will buy out its China joint venture partner. This will make it the most advanced foreign bank to take full ownership of a mainland securities business. Having a lack of total control on mainland securities entities has long been a bugbear for Western firms. And not just Goldman Sachs, others are also aiming for 100% control - including Citi, UBS and Credit Suisse. Especially after Beijing announced in 2018 that it is removing caps on foreign ownership, western firms are looking to expand.

Doubling the China Headcount

In order to prep for taking 100% control, Goldman announced that it plans to double its China headcount to 600 in five years. However, although Hong Kong is a more advanced investment banking hub than either Beijing or Shanghai, it looks like relocating manpower internally is not the best option.

“Firstly, with the headcount targets that some of these foreign banks have set, it just wouldn’t make sense to depend on relocating from the firm internally. Secondly, candidates’ experience and understanding of the local market is especially critical for these banks if they are expecting to have any impact on local market share. Essentially, this will not be a game of musical chairs; this will just be pure growth,” Chris Wong, head of Selby Jennings in China, told eFinancial Careers.

In short, it looks like most of these new headcounts will be hiring from the mainland directly. The focus on mainland-based external hiring applies to all foreign banks in China. Including those who have expansion plan, such as JPMorgan Chase - who last month has increased its stake in its securities venture to 71%

Opportunities in China

Selby Jennings dedicated team to focus on hiring for mid-to-senior level financial services roles in China. If you are looking to explore opportunities, connect with our team.

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