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Natural resources bankers are leaving. A new sort of banker is emerging in their wake.

Hong Kong investment bankers are having to re-invent themselves

The clean energy transition means international banks are making some tough decisions – but it also provides an opportunity for junior bankers to shine.

Bankers in natural resources and metals and mining have endured a tough time in Asia in recent years, with a number struggling to hit their budgets.

Now as big banks remodel these sector teams to better serve the sustainability needs of their corporate clients as they transition their portfolios to clean energy, some fallout is inevitable.

In March, Recently, Citi brought together its chemicals, energy and power teams to form a new group called Natural Resources and Clean Energy Transition Group (NRCET). The US bank has since announced the global leadership of its clean energy transition (CET) team, which organises coverage of clients into a range of sub-sectors covering environment services such as energy-technology and equipment, hydrogen, and bio fuels.

The revamp means that James Teo, Citi’s head of Natural Resources investment banking for Asia Pacific, is leaving. Teo joined the US bank in 2019 from Hong-Kong based private equity firm Silk Road Finance Corp.

While some existing staff disappear, banks are recruiting as they work out how to position their industry sector teams to ensure they have the right content to serve the needs of corporate clients and private equity firms as they look to invest in and acquire fast-growth companies across clean energy. 

“International banks with a strong focus on technology, electronic vehicles, consumer, robotics and healthcare are the most active recruiters in greater china. Moving into 2022, these sectors are the major revenue generator,” said Jason Tan, a director at Shanghai-based recruitment firm REForce Group.

Because many of these sub-sectors are relatively new, finding bankers with the right level of expertise could prove a challenge. “We’re seeing metals and mining bankers looking to re-invent themselves for the new economy in areas like lithium, while good natural resources bankers will still be in demand because they have the corporate relationships.” added one Hong Kong-based headhunter. Bankers with expertise in power and renewables will also be in strong demand, he said.

The talent shortage could also provide a catalyst for the next generation of bankers to come through. “This is a great opportunity for directors to make a name for themselves and claim some of these sectors for their own, the headhunter added.

Citi declined to comment.

Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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