Henry Cai: a new breed of dealmaker
Henry Cai is a well-liked, hard-working and driven banker who has spent the past decade raising capital not for China’s state-run firms but for its growing army of privately run corporations.
A colleague at UBS refers to him as the "grandfather of the private sector in China", and the mainland banker spends more time pounding the pavements of Shanghai and Guangdong meeting entrepreneurs and company owners than cozying up to mandarins in Beijing. Yet until even two years ago, the 52-year-old Shanghainese-speaking banker would have been no one’s idea of a rainmaker.
That characterization was until recently reserved for such people as Merrill Lynch’s Erhfei Liu, Deutsche Bank’s Lee Zhang or the peripatetic Margaret Ren – bankers who could land roles on the big-ticket stock sales of state-owned enterprises such as China Telecom, PetroChina, and China Life Insurance, simply by turning up and shaking a few hands.
China has moved on since then. These days any foreign investment bank worth its salt is vying to position itself as a corporate financier to the country’s ambitious privately owned firms.