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Chinese investment banks: Calmer chameleons

Asia’s growing band of big, local investment banks won’t let short-term market fluctuations affect their planned transitions from national to regional leadership

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Yin Ke is five minutes late for a morning meeting with Euromoney, and understandably so. The markets he plies as chief executive of Beijing’s favourite investment bank, Citic Securities, are barely an hour into trading, but this is already proving to be the blackest yet of Mondays in China’s emergence as a global powerhouse.

Outside the calm of Citic’s boardroom in downtown Central, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and the benchmark Shanghai Composite index are plunging their sharpest in years, as the so-far $4 trillion global sell-off sparked by China’s wobbles continues unabated.

Which, if 52-year-old Yin’s unruffled demeanour is any guide, seems a trifling, passing detail. With the markets in turmoil, did he consider cancelling our long-agreed chat, we ask, to man the proverbial barricades?

“Not at all,” Yin says, convincingly. “This is what markets do. These sorts of moments are an opportunity for us.”

But he does apologise. The reason he was slightly late, he explains, is that before coming to our meeting, he summoned his regional department heads to convey that very message. He asked them to be meticulous about ensuring any tricky exposures were adequately covered and, “importantly, to stay calm.”

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