Oppenheimer & Company has added Taiwan’s SinoPac to a budding web of regional alliances designed to advance its interests in wealth management and corporate finance.
Hong Kong-based unit Oppenheimer Investments Asia has signed a memorandum of understanding with SinoPac Securities regarding equity sales and trading, fixed income, investment banking and wealth management.
Steve Bernstein, CEO at Oppenheimer Investments Asia, says the deal follows a similar one made last year with Korea’s Hyundai Securities. He adds that he is in negotiations to sign a third deal in India.
Similar talks with a potential partner in Japan have fizzled out, however, because the local firm’s focus has been diverted by the impact of the March 11 earthquake.
Wealth management is one of the main reasons for these deals. Bernstein says that, by itself, Oppenheimer lacks the scale to penetrate local markets. Its US investor base is keen to source product and research from Asian markets, but Oppenheimer doesn’t have securities licences in places such as Taiwan.
Meanwhile, SinoPac’s high-net-worth clients also want to source investments in the US or regionally.
M&A is the other driver behind the deals, with both parties able to provide their investors with private placements and strategic investments.
Equities trading will also play a role. “We can open our products to SinoPac’s financial advisers, and provide them with US research,” Bernstein says. “And as we introduce our Asian equities business, we can leverage the research from SinoPac and Hyundai.”
Eric Chuang, president of SinoPac Securities, says it chose to work with Oppenheimer on the basis of its reputation and its ability to provide access to US products and services for Taiwanese investors.