Hong Kong’s new stock exchange chief has big shoes to fill
Nicolas Aguzin, the new head of HKEX, is respected in China and internationally, but challenges lie ahead – not least that of turning the city into a global capital markets hub.
The choice of Nicolas Aguzin as the next chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) runs against the grain of recent history.
It nevertheless signals to global investors that for all of its recent travails, the city is still open to business.
The new appointment looks good on paper. Like his predecessor Charles Li, who ran HKEX from 2010 to 2020, Aguzin is a veteran of JPMorgan.
One banker describes him as a “big-picture thinker with great contacts who will be able to explain Hong Kong policy to a global audience and convince them their investments are protected”.
The 52-year-old ran the US bank’s operations in Latin America before being named chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Asia-Pacific in 2013, and moving to Hong Kong. In 2019 he was made CEO of JPMorgan’s International Private Bank.
The HKEX appointment, announced on February 9, left some bemused.
“I’d say the general reaction was surprise,” says one Hong Kong private banker. “He’s a great public speaker and has global appeal, but it’s an intriguing choice given his nationality.”
The Argentine banker will be the first non-ethnic Chinese to run the exchange since HKEX was formed in 2000.