From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FormerlyCLSA, Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryDiversified financials
FoundedHong Kong (1986)
HeadquartersHong Kong
Number of locations
20 (2018)
Area served
Key people
  • Youjun Zhang (Chairman)
  • Rick Gould (CEO)
  • John Sun (Deputy CEO & Group Head of FICC)
ProductsFinancial services
ServicesAlternative investment, asset management, corporate finance and capital markets, securities and wealth management
Number of employees
1,800 (2018)
ParentCITIC Securities

CLSA Ltd. (formerly known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) is a capital markets and investment group focused on alternative investment, asset management, corporate finance and capital markets, securities and wealth management for corporate and institutional clients.[1][2][dead link]

Founded in 1986 by two former journalists, CLSA has its headquarters in Hong Kong and offices or representatives in 20 cities across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Amsterdam, London and New York. In 2013, CITIC Securities, China's largest investment bank acquired CLSA for US$1.3 billion.


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). 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.

In 2003 Crédit Lyonnais, including CLSA, was acquired by Crédit Agricole, France's largest retail banking group, and CLSA remained part of Crédit Agricole until 2012. That year, Crédit Agricole sold a 19.9 percent stake to the Chinese firm CITIC Securities.[3] On July 31, 2013, CITIC Securities acquired the remaining 80.1% of CLSA from Crédit Agricole and CLSA became wholly owned by Citic Securities.

Controversies that have hit the firm include the Securities and Futures Commission reprimand in May 2004; Asiamoney “vote-rigging” email in 2005; and Allen Lam insider-trading conviction in July 2009.[4][5][6]

Locations and staffing[edit]

With headquarters in Hong Kong, CLSA has over 3,000 staff located in 21 cities across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States.

Investors' Forum[edit]

In 2018, around 1,500 CEOs and CFOs from more than 570 corporations attended CLSA Forums to present to and meet with more than 1,900 institutional investors around the globe, while almost 5,200 private meetings were held.[citation needed]

CITIC-CEFC bond scandal[edit]

In November 2016, CITIC CLSA acted as the sole bookrunner for CEFC Shanghai's US$250 bond issuance. CITIC CLSA hid from the market that the bond deal was only 60% subscribed at pricing. It manipulated the bond price in the secondary market in an effort to offload the 100mm USD bond CITIC CLSA held on its balance sheet.[7]

In May 2018, CITIC Group announced they would repay ca 450 million euros owed by CEFC Europe to finance and banking group J&T within days but since the debt was not paid a week later, J&T announced it had taken over shareholder rights and installed crisis management at CEFC Europe.[8][9] Several days later, CEFC Shanghai defaulted on $327 million in bond payments, and offered to make the payments six months after the maturity date.[10]

To this day, CEFC Shanghai still hasn't paid the $327 million in bond payments. In October 2020, some retail CEFC bondholders in Hong Kong filed a complaint to the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong against the bond's sole underwriter CITIC CLSA. The letter claims that CITIC CLSA had "blatantly" violated SFC's rules and regulations, committed deception and market manipulation and blatantly violated SFC's Conflict of Interest rules.[11]


  1. ^ Gary Coull obituaries: The Times, [1] FT [2] and FinanceAsia "Gary Coull 1954-2006 -". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  2. ^ "Page Not Found". Euromoney. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  3. ^ Gough, Neil (23 July 2012). "Citic Securities' Shares Slump on Planned $1.3 Billion Deal for CLSA".
  4. ^ SFC reprimand
  5. ^ "Asiamoney: CLSA talks about that email (requires subscription)". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  6. ^ "Ex-CLSA banker admits HK insider trade". Financial Times.
  7. ^ "UPDATE 1- CEFC Energy Retail Bondholders File SFC Complaint against Bond Bookrunner CLSA". Debtwire. 2020-12-30.
  8. ^ "UPDATE 1-China's CITIC to pay CEFC Europe's 450 MLN euro debt - CEFC official". Reuters. 2018-05-09.
  9. ^ "UPDATE 2-J&T Private Investments says takes over shareholder rights in CEFC Europe". Reuters. 2018-05-17.
  10. ^ "UPDATE 1-CEFC Shanghai International defaults on $327 MLN in bond payments". Reuters. 2018-05-21.
  11. ^ "UPDATE 1- CEFC Energy Retail Bondholders File SFC Complaint against Bond Bookrunner CLSA". Debtwire. 2020-12-30.