SYDNEY--CLSA Ltd. has hired a prominent Australian banker to spearhead its drive into new markets, as owner Citic Securities Co. pushes to become Asia's first global investment bank able to compete with the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Former Macquarie Group Ltd. executive Andrew Low will take up the newly created role of CLSA's international investment banking head, beginning in February. Mr Low helped establish the Asian arm of Macquarie's operations over a six year period, leading the floats of large Chinese state-owned enterprises including China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.
CLSA has recently landed advisory roles in Chinese mega deals including the record $25 billion float of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in September and the float of Chinese nuclear power firm CGN Power Co., but missed out on the most senior positions on those transactions to traditional bulge bracket banks like Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. Mr Low hopes that can change, as CLSA and Citic Securities draw on their large footprint in China to help major Chinese corporations buy offshore rivals and raise money.
"As the center of gravity has shifted towards Asia, the center of the financial world is shifting to this part of the world too," Mr Low said. "One Asian bank will build a top bulge bracket bank in the next 10 years."
CLSA was acquired last year by China's largest investment bank, Citic Securities, from French bank Crédit Agricole SA for $1.25 billion dollars. The acquisition was part of an attempt by Citic Securities to link its network of 600 Chinese investment bankers with new markets across Asia. Mr Low will manage all CLSA's non mainland China based investment bankers, which include about 80 bankers in Hong Kong, in addition to bankers in India and South Korea.
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