These are the best bankers in real estate in Hong Kong

The health of China’s real estate sector is in the spotlight as reports suggest that real estate giant Evergrande is using its $ 300 billion imagination as collateral.

A default by Evergrande, China’s second largest real estate company, could wreak havoc on the country’s real estate sector and put banks on alert for restructuring and divestment mandates – as well as potential loan defaults.

Bankers say a restructuring of Evergrande seems inevitable, with a number of banks likely to be busy. Firms like Lazard, Rothschild, and Houlihan Lokey have restructuring teams in Hong Kong, while other firms are likely to be involved as well.

Credit Suisse is an Evergrande lender and Joe Lai is one of the top bankers in the business. The Swiss bank has collaborated on its previous borrowing deals and led the consortium with Bank of America. Lai heads Credit Suisse’s investment banking and capital markets division in China, as well as real estate and industry for Greater China.

Lai is part of a trio of world-class real estate bankers who headhunters say are Kara Wang, co-head of real estate investment banking for Asia at Citi, with a focus on Greater China, and Cara Li, the director, is the head of Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley at Morgan Stanley and

Li has been with Morgan Stanley since 2004, but competing real estate teams have seen a brain drain from senior bankers. Jie Wei joined Goldman Sachs earlier that month as Head Co-Head of Real Estate Investment Banking for Asia ex Japan (Aej) after spending just eight months at HSBC. In July, Winnie Ng joined Bank of America from JP Morgan as co-head of real estate investment banking in the Asia Pacific region.

Ng’s move follows JP Morgan’s appointment of Rita Chan to lead real estate investment banking for AeJ last November. Chan came from Goldman where she spent 15 years.

Goldman Sachs and Lazard were the top advisors on Chinese M&A real estate deals this year, according to Dealogic rankings. Both banks, however, licked their wounds after US private equity firm Blackstone advised Blackstone on its proposed 3 billion Goldman acquisition of Chinese real estate developer Soho China last week, while Lazard advised Soho China, whose shares were subsequently advised on Jan. September fell by 40%.

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