Bank of Communications (BoCom) will invest HK$7.9 billion (US$1 billion) to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong which will house its private banking activities in the special administrative region, the bank said in a statement.
BoCom, which launched private banking services in Hong Kong in 2010, plans to transfer its retail and private banking operations in the city to Bank of Communications (Hong Kong).
“Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) will focus primarily on providing retail and private banking services in Hong Kong, whereas the existing Hong Kong branch of the bank will focus primarily on providing corporate banking services and other banking services,” the statement reads.
The investment is aimed at building on the bank’s “strong foundation” in Hong Kong.
Last month, Asian Private Banker reported that Jessica Wai, the former Hong Kong-based general manager of BoCom’s private bank, had exited the lender. Wai has since resurfaced as UOB’s Hong Kong private banking head.
Tsimyi Kwan, a senior executive at BoCom, assumed Wai’s vacated role at the bank.
BoCom’s onshore private banking business in China had RMB 466.5 billion in assets under management and 277 staff at the end of last year, according to data from the China Banking Association.
BoCom is not the only Chinese bank looking to bolster its private banking operations in Hong Kong.
China Minsheng Banking Corporation (CMBC) recently opened a private bank and wealth management centre at its Hong Kong branch, while Industrial Bank Co. (CIB) also plans to open a private banking office in the city.
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, meanwhile, intends to offer private banking services in London and Singapore, after opening its private banking centre in Hong Kong last year.