Mar 21, 2023
Citadel Securities Ramps Up China Presence When Others Cut Costs
(Bloomberg) -- Citadel Securities LLC is planning to bolster business in China while it hires across Asia, expanding in the region at a time when most financial firms are cutting costs.
The US company is planning to build a bigger on-shore presence in China and working closely with regulators, Citadel Securities Chief Executive Officer Peng Zhao said in an interview in Hong Kong.
“China is well-positioned to be a driver for world economic growth for the next two years,” he said. “We have every desire to invest more in China.”
Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities has more than doubled its headcount in Asia in the past three years, expanding offices from Tokyo to Singapore, and Sydney to Gurugram. The company, which mostly focuses on market making in Asia, sees the region catching up with the US in profitability and revenue, standing already as its second-largest contributor.
“All of the cities will continue to hire as our business in the APAC region continues to grow. It’s our fastest-growing region in the world,” said Zhao, adding that the company is looking at how to broaden its scope there.
For example, in the US it provides liquidity products to institutions and retail investors across a range of asset classes, whether it’s on exchange, over-the-counter or directly with financial companies. These could serve as blueprints for what the firm can do in Asia.
Citadel Securities started offering US Treasury and dollar interest rate swap products in Hong Kong in 2020. It has been growing that business across Asia in the past three years with the latest launch in Japan in 2022.
The company’s investment and hiring stands in contrast with other financial businesses which have been slashing headcount amid economic uncertainty. The turmoil at Credit Suisse Group AG and SVB Financial has lowered market expectations for Federal Reserve rate hikes.
The firm has more than 100 people in Hong Kong, about 60 in Sydney and around 50 in Singapore.
In China, Citadel Securities started building out its office in Shanghai before Covid. It’s now pushing ahead with those plans after they were delayed by the pandemic. The company has about 10 people on the mainland.
“It’s obviously been harder not being able to travel in and out of China in the last few years due to Covid,” he said. “We expect that office to grow.”
(Updates with details about staff numbers in ninth paragraph)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.