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Asiamoney Brokers Poll 2017: CLSA grows from one-trick pony to thundering herd

Competitors used to dismiss CLSA as a one-trick pony, but with it now taking advantage of the heft of parent Citic’s balance sheet, can CEO Jonathan Slone turn it into a thundering herd?

By Paolo Danese

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Jonathan Slone, chief executive of CLSA

When China’s Citic Securities acquired CLSA in 2013, many in the market wondered if the fiercely independent equity brokerage would be able to maintain the distinctive approach to research and sales that had made it so popular with clients across Asia.

The following year’s Asiamoney Brokers Poll hinted that, indeed, CLSA’s star was waning as it joined forces with one of China’s most powerful financial institutions. In 2014, it slipped from Asia’s leading brokerage overall for combined regional research and sales to third place, behind UBS and HSBC.

It lost top ranking in Japan to Nomura, its overall regional sales leadership and, perhaps most galling of all, slipped to second place in the overall Asia ex-Australia and Japan rankings.

Sure, it still had more top-ranked individual analysts than any other firm, but was something deeper amiss?

Fast-forward to the end of 2017 and the announcement of the latest Asiamoney Brokers Poll results, based on close to 6,700 votes across the region.