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Industry Diversified financials
Founded Hong Kong (1986)
Headquarters Hong Kong
Key people
Jonathan Slone
Chairman and CEO
Products Financial services
Number of employees
1,400 (2014)

CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) is Asia's leading equity brokers and investment groups focused on institutional broking, investment banking and asset management to corporate and institutional clients around the world.[1][2]

Founded in 1986, CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) has its headquarters in Hong Kong and offices or representatives in 15 cities across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, New York, London and San Francisco. CLSA was majority owned (65%) by Crédit Agricole, France’s largest retail-banking group, who sold CLSA to CITIC Securities, China's largest brokerage in July 2013.

Unlike most of its competitors, CLSA is a research-driven agency broker.[3] It’s known for its annual investor forums (particularly the calibre of its keynote speakers and the star acts at its parties), as well as its unique reports, the hallmarks of which are colourful and sometimes irreverent “cartoon” covers[4] and analysis that goes beyond the numbers and ‘tells the story’ (a legacy of the journalism background of its founders). It has produced a number of seminal reports, including Billion Boomers, Mr & Mrs Asia, Corporate Governance Watch and many more.


In 1986, Winfull Laing & Cruickshank Securities began operations in Hong Kong, with former business journalist Jim Walker as chairman. The small brokerage was a 50-50 joint venture between the Woo Hon Fai family and Alexander Laing & Cruickshank.

Walker was soon joined by two other former journalists: Gary Coull, as head of the dealing room, and Malcolm Surry, as head of research. All three had worked at the South China Morning Post; neither Coull nor Surry had any experience in brokering.

The following year, Crédit Lyonnais acquired Alexander Laing & Cruickshank and, after various iterations, Walker’s start-up emerged in 1989 as Credit Lyonnais Securities (Asia). But relations with the French giant – which was about to be engulfed by a series of major financial scandals – soon became ‘impossible’, according to Coull, and he and Walker resigned. They were persuaded to return in exchange for a 35% stake in the company and guarantees of independence.


CLSA was founded by two former business journalists, Jim Walker (1949–2004) and Gary Coull (1954–2006). In September 2006, one month before he died, Coull was named one of the 50 most influential people in Asian financial history by FinanceAsia magazine.[citation needed]

Business structure[edit]


Investment banking[edit]

Asset management[edit]

CLSA Capital Partners is the firm’s alternative asset-management arm and comprises 10 funds with more than US$2.6bn under management. The strategy is simple, according to Executive Chairman Richard Pyvis: ‘We invest in businesses we understand that are driven by domestic demand.’[citation needed] The funds target growth companies, property and transport, buyout financing, mid-market buyouts and clean-tech opportunities.


Global Head of Research : Dr. Edmund Bradley

Corporate access[edit]

China joint venture[edit]

China Reality Research[edit]

Launched in 2006, China Reality Research independently monitors what is now the world's second-largest economy by collecting and analysing grassroots data from across the country. With a presence in about 100 cities, it tracks and reports on a vast range of activity, including core sectors such as banking, steel, real estate, resources, consumer goods and energy, as well as key macro trends such as food inflation, urbanisation and the rise of China’s middle class. CRR also conducts bespoke research for clients.[citation needed]

CLSA U[edit]

A continually evolving executive-level education programme for the firm’s top clients, CLSA U provides unfiltered access to independent experts[who?] in a wide range of fields and specialities affecting investment decisions in the region. Over any 12 months, it offers some 75 courses in 22 locations around the world, attracting 4,500 enrolments. The syllabus focuses on the latest industry trends, investment theories and macro developments, but also includes personal-growth topics.

Locations and staffing[edit]

With headquarters in Hong Kong, CLSA has offices or representatives in 21 other cities around the world: Sydney (Australia), Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen (China), Mumbai and Pune (India), Jakarta (Indonesia), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (Korea), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Port Louis (Mauritius), Manila (Philippines), Singapore (Singapore), Taipei* (Taiwan), Bangkok (Thailand), London (United Kingdom), Amsterdam (Netherlands) Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco (United States of America). Its 1,850 staff include more than 150 analysts covering 1,200 Asian companies across 13 sectors.

  • In Taipei, CLSA is represented by Credit Agricole Securities Taiwan

Ownership structure[edit]

CLSA was majority owned (65%) by Crédit Agricole, France’s largest retail-banking group, with the remainder held by staff, until 2012. That year, Crédit Agricole sold a 19.9 percent stake to the Chinese firm CITIC Securities.[5] On July 31, 2013, CITIC Securities acquired the remaining 80.1% of CLSA from Crédit Agricole to become the majority shareholder of CLSA.

Notable regular publications[edit]

Asia Maxima (Christopher Wood)

Bits & pieces (Damian Kestel)

Eye on Asian economies (Eric Fishwick)

GREED & fear (Christopher Wood)

Solid Ground (Russell Napier)

Key executives[edit]

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: Jonathan Slone

Key strategists[edit]

Christopher Wood

Described by London’s Telegraph newspaper as ‘the first to predict the US sub-prime meltdown’,[6] Christopher Wood is best known for his weekly GREED & fear newsletter. He’s been ranked No.1 Asian equities strategist every year since 2002 by either Asiamoney or Institutional Investor and usually by both. A former finance journalist with the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Economist, Wood is also the author of Boom & Bust, The Bubble Economy and The End of Japan Inc. He also wrote the CLSA milestone research report, The Real Pacific Century: Asia’s Billion Boomers.

Andy Rothman

After 14 years at CLSA, Andy Rothman resigned in January 2014 to return to the United States. China Macro Strategist Andy Rothman, a former American diplomat, joined CLSA in 2000. Under the Sinology label, he writes analysis of economic and political trends on the mainland, as well as assessments of China's impact on regional economies. Rothman first went to China in 1980 as a student; he returned four years later as a diplomat, and focused on China for most of his 17 years with the US Foreign Service. He served as director of the Macroeconomic and Domestic Policy Office of the US Embassy in Beijing, and helped negotiate the normalisation of relations between the USA and Vietnam.[7]

Eric Fishwick

One of only a handful of economists with first-hand experience of Japan’s deleveraging during the 1990s, plus the US Treasury and money markets, Eric Fishwick was named Asia’s top economist in 2009 by Asiamoney.[8] Although his focus is China, Fishwick is an expert on Asian economies, and has 17 years’ experience in financial markets. Before that, he was a permanent advisor to the UK House of Commons. He holds a master's degree in economics and a master of philosophy in international relations from the University of Cambridge.[citation needed]

Russell Napier

London-based consultant Russell Napier writes about issues and themes affecting global equity markets, under the Solid Ground label. Napier played a key role in the development and scope of CLSA’s equity research in his role as equity strategist from 1995-1999. He was ranked No.1 by both the Asiamoney and Institutional Investor polls from 1997 to 1999. Napier’s book Anatomy of the Bear was named the ‘investment read of the year’ in 2006 by the Financial Times.[9]


Securities and Futures Commission reprimand (May 2004)[10]

Asiamoney “vote-rigging” email (2005)[11]

Allen Lam insider-trading conviction (July 2009)[12]


CLSA Chairman’s Trust

CLSA Books[edit]

21 Years in Asia: Two decades of commitment

Anatomy of the Bear: Lessons from Wall Street’s four great bottoms, Russell Napier ISBN 978-962-86067-9-5

Climb! The Pinstriped Backpack, Richard Pyvis ISBN 978-962-86067-1-9

The Corruption of Capitalism: A strategy to rebalance the global economy and restore sustainable growth, Richard Duncan ISBN 978-988-98942-4-5

Islam & Economics: A productive partnership?, Richard Pyvis & Phillip Braun ISBN 978-988-98942-2-1

Mr & Mrs Asia: An extraordinary survey of an extraordinary region ISBN 978-988-98942-0-7

New beginnings: After the tsunami: The rebuilding of Lamreh Village, Aceh, Isla Rogers-Winarto and Helen Vanwel

Tomorrow’s Gold: Asia’s age of discovery, Marc Faber ISBN 978-962-86067-2-6

CLSA sites[edit]

China Reality Research (requires subscription)


CLSA Capital Partners


  1. ^ Gary Coull obituaries: The Times, [1] FT [2] and FinanceAsia [3]
  2. ^ Asiamoney Poll of Polls 2009 (requires subscription)
  3. ^ Investopedia definition of agency broker
  4. ^ Jon Berkeley and Alex Hughes are among the artists whose work has been used on CLSA reports over the years. 20 Years in Asia: Two decades of commitment reproduces some of the standout covers from 1986 to 2006.
  5. ^ Citic Securities’ Shares Slump on Planned $1.3 Billion Deal for CLSA
  6. ^ Wood is regularly quoted in the finance press, but see The Telegraph: Chris Wood: the man who predicted the subprime crisis [4]
  7. ^ Milken Institute Global Conference 2008 speakers' biographies
  8. ^ Asiamoney Brokers' Poll 2009 (subscription required)
  9. ^ The secrets of the market are there for all to read, Financial Times, 23 December 2006 [5]
  10. ^ SFC reprimand
  11. ^ Asiamoney: CLSA talks about that email (requires subscription)
  12. ^ FT: Ex-CLSA banker admits HK insider trade

External links[edit]