HONG KONG/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> plans to hire at least 12 equity research analysts in China this year, two people with knowledge of the matter said, in its first major mainland hiring push as it takes advantage of eased ownership rules for financial firms.
With the headcount expansion for its new brokerage business, the bank’s research arm aims to more than double the number of China-listed firms it covers in five years from about 225, the people said.
A JPMorgan spokeswoman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
The move indicates the beginning of an expected hiring spree by global banks taking control of their China operations and expanding offerings as the government opens up capital markets. Reflecting client interest, foreign holders of Chinese stocks reached a record high in September.
China is a “critical market” for clients globally, JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in December, when the bank received regulatory approval to establish a majority-owned securities joint venture, offering brokerage, investment advisory and underwriting services.
China has been pushing ahead with opening up its financial services sector despite disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. It has also continued to let U.S. firms increase their presence despite tension with Washington.
Last month, a U.S. investment advisory founded by Wall Street trader William O’Neil won approval to launch local-currency funds and plans to seek a licence to raise money for offshore investment.
In April, JPMorgan said it would increase its stake in a Chinese mutual fund venture to 100% and would seek full control of its futures business.
The United States’ biggest bank is targeting local as well as global brokerages to hire analysts in the months ahead, one of the people told Reuters. It will bolster coverage in technology, biotechnology and automobiles, the person said.
The bank has already hired about half a dozen bankers for its equities business in China, the person said, including former UBS Group AG <UBSG.S> banker David Xu who joined in June to lead the business.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Michelle Price in Washington; Editing by Christopher Cushing)