The Hong Kong banker who switched to a firm for the ‘best of both worlds’




There has been an unprecedented demand in Hong Kong for seasoned bankers with expertise in the tech and healthcare industries.

The demand for talent is in part fueled by the number of bankers looking to become CFOs of client companies – this year alone, Vijay Karwal, Nomurahead of the healthcare investment bank, Chao Lu, formerly Citigroup head of the healthcare investment bank in Asia, Jeremy Choy, Head of Technology Mergers and Acquisitions at HSBC and Yang Ruo, general manager of Citigroup’s TMT team, all made the switch.

The ability to help build a business and, in some cases, steer it towards public market listing is an important factor in this development. This plays on the strengths of a banker in the field of corporate finance, and there is a considerable advantage in terms of compensation.

Senior bankers are well paid, but they can earn multiples of their wages by having their skin in the game and guiding a company towards an initial public offering.

But not all bankers want to join companies, and not all moves work. Indeed, taking on a CFO role means that a banker goes from working on multiple transactions and being in the flow of transactions to a more strategic role.

Karwal has managed to get the best of both worlds with a new dual role. This week he was appointed CFO of a biopharmaceutical company Shanghai-based AffaMed Therapeutics. At the same time, he was also appointed operational partner of CBC Group, headquartered in Singapore (formerly C-Bridge Capital), founding shareholder and financing partner of AffaMed.

CBC is one of the most active investors in the healthcare industry in Asia and this additional role means Karwal can perform his role as CFO for AffaMed while staying in Hong Kong at the forefront of trading. “Bankers are so used to being involved in many different projects and they risk losing it if they migrate to a company. But this role gives me the best of both worlds. While AffaMed is the primary focus and responsibility, I will continue to be able to leverage my network and experience to support CBC in finding business flow, ”Karwal told eFinancialCareers.

Karwal has already moved between the banking world and the corporate world during his 25-year career. Prior to joining Nomura as Head of Healthcare Investment Banking for Asia (Excl.Japan) in 2018, he was Director of Asia-Pacific Development as well as Managing Director of China Operations for DaVita Inc, the supplier international renal care services. He joined DaVita from the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was responsible for Asia’s consumer, retail and healthcare coverage, and prior to that he was responsible for the healthcare bank in North America at ABN AMRO.

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