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Senior HSBC mainland China banker defects to Bank of America

Alison Tudor-Ackroyd and Chad Bray alison.t-a@scmp.com chad.bray@scmp.com

Former senior HSBC mainland China banker Zhang Wenjie has jumped to Bank of America as a managing director and president of China, helping the Charlotte, North Carolina-headquartered bank navigate the world's second-largest economy.

Zhang also will be named Bank of America's Shanghai branch manager, subject to regulatory approval, according to an internal memo seen by the Post. His role will involve driving new business and working with local regulators.

He will be based in Shanghai and report to Wei Wang, Bank of America's China country executive based in Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for Bank of America confirmed the contents of the memo but declined to comment further.

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Zhang, who was based in Beijing, most recently served as HSBC's co-head of global banking and executive vice-president of China, alongside Eddie Ching. Before HSBC, Zhang worked at JP Morgan.

Zhang Wenjie joins Bank of America in Shanghai. Photo: Handout alt=Zhang Wenjie joins Bank of America in Shanghai. Photo: Handout

Zhang fills a position at Bank of America that has lain vacant since the departure of Anthony Lin to Standard Chartered in 2017. He will focus mostly on serving financial institutions, corporate banking and transaction banking.

HSBC is expected to seek a replacement for Zhang, according to a person familiar with the matter. HSBC declined to comment.

His departure comes as HSBC CEO Noel Quinn makes a big bet on future growth in China as part of the lender's third major revamp in a decade.

One of three banks authorised to print currency in Hong Kong, London-based HSBC plans to eliminate 35,000 jobs and cut expenses by US$4.5 billion in costs over the next three years.

As part of its restructuring, HSBC, which generates the bulk of its profit in Asia, expects to shift capital from underperforming businesses in the United States and Europe to growth markets, including Hong Kong and mainland China.

The lender's shift to an even greater reliance on Asia comes as HSBC has increasingly found itself caught in the middle of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, ranging from its support of a controversial national security law for Hong Kong to its entanglement in a US investigation into Huawei Technologies.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.