Alan Smith: Pioneering Hong Kong’s markets
As part of Euromoney's 50th anniversary coverage, we profile some of the biggest names that we interviewed for our May Asia focus.
It’s hard to recall now, but for more than 20 years Jardine Fleming was the name to beat in Hong Kong merchant banking. From its launch in 1970 as a joint venture between the ultimate British Hong Kong firm, Jardine Matheson, and Scottish asset manager Robert Fleming, to its sale to JPMorgan Chase in 2000, it was a pioneer, not only dominating markets but often inventing them in the first place.
Nobody was as influential in that journey as Alan Smith, who joined in 1972 and was later chief executive for 11 years and chairman for a further two.
Smith had come to Hong Kong to teach law in 1970.
“When I came here, it absolutely was not a financial centre,” he says over lunch in Tai Kwun, the redeveloped police station and barracks; in earlier days Smith, a justice of the peace, has visited its jail.