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Asia: The strange case of CLSA

Few firms have seen change quite like CLSA. It is now owned by Citic Securities and incorporates the Hong Kong (and international) arm of the mainland business. As such, it is Citic Securities’ international bridgehead to the world.

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CLSA's Richard Taylor and Frank Yu



Two men, Frank Yu and Richard Taylor, co-head the investment banking side, with quite different, and hopefully complementary, backgrounds.

Yu comes from the mainland side. He worked for Citic Securities for 15 years and rose through the ranks, moving to Hong Kong with Citic Securities International in 2009, handling that business’s own H-share listing and the CLSA merger, after which he joined CLSA itself. 

Whereas Guotai Junan Securities presents its mainland and Mandarin-speaking staff as a plus, Yu is keen to emphasize the reverse at CLSA. 

“Compared to other Chinese banks, the most important thing is we are the most internationalized,” he says. “All our systems, trading and sales are of international standards.” 

CLSA’s executive committee comprises 10 people, of whom only two are Chinese.

Is this something to boast about? Yu is doing so partly because of the perception that international equals compliance in a way that mainland perhaps does not.