Hong Kong's best international bank 2020: Citi
Citi’s importance to Hong Kong and its standing among the city’s largest corporations and families is well established. After all, the US bank has a 118-year presence in Hong Kong. Under Angel Ng, who has been Citi’s Hong Kong chief executive since May 2018, the firm has only cemented its position further.
The numbers tell one side of the story. Citi’s Hong Kong franchise reported revenues of about $2.4 billion between April 2019 and March 2020. Profits before tax were $1.45 billion, while net income was $1.2 billion. Its total assets were $56 billion, while the return on the assets was 2.2%.
Then there is its enviable roster of corporate and investment banking clients, tended by Hong Kong division head Christopher Laskowski. Citi works with blue-chip names such as Li & Fung Group, CK Hutchison Holdings and the Swire Group, as well as financial issuers such as insurance firm FWD and local banking group Bank of East Asia.
Last year, for instance, the bank helped CK Hutchison with a restructuring that involved the creation of CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings as well as the issuance of a chunky €4.25 billion and £800 million multi-tranche bond. It was a financial adviser for the $4.3 billion deal to take infrastructure and property firm Hopewell Holdings private, and provided a $2.4 billion acquisition loan for the purpose.
Citi worked on some of Hong Kong’s landmark transactions in 2019, including e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holdings’ $12.9 billion secondary listing in the city, brewer Budweiser Apac’s $5.7 billion IPO and logistics real estate developer ESR’s $1.8 billion listing.
Its strength is not only limited to commercial and investment banking. With 18 retail branches in Hong Kong and an impressive digital offering, Citi has boosted its retail banking initiatives and, in turn, its financial performance.
Qualified Citigold clients – those with assets under management of $200,000 or more – grew 16% in 2019. About 47% of its credit card accounts were acquired digitally last year, with Citi reporting a 26% year-on-year increase in the number of mobile-active card customers.