This article first appeared on Marketing Interactive.
Hong Kong is facing an exodus of expatriates as the city is implementing the most stringent COVID-19 control measures in the world.
According to the latest reports, several senior J.P. Morgan bankers have left the city due to the "dynamic zero-COVID" policy. Some reports said J.P. Morgan's head of cash equity and equity distribution Ryan Holsheimer had left the city and returned to Australia to rejoin his family. Current head of cash equity distribution in Japan Sara Perring will succeed him and relocate to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, other senior management, including ex-APAC head of insurance investment banking Lionel Pernet and APAC head of cash trading Borja Rodriguez-Cano also left the city.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to J.P. Morgan for more details.
Previously, HRO reported that J.P. Morgan would give its staff in Hong Kong up to US$5,000 to reimburse quarantine stays when returning to the city. The reimbursement was applicable to staff who want to travel overseas to visit their immediate family members. The report added that the new policy would apply to Hong Kong-based executive directors and lower-level staff for a single quarantine stay for personal trips to see family between 1 December 2021 and 30 November 2022.
Various multinational companies in Hong Kong are relocating their staff to other places in the world. Last week, according to a report on Bloomberg, Citigroup was moving half a several of its senior equities staff from Hong Kong to Singapore and other markets. This came amidst Hong Kong’s strict pandemic restrictions which the report said was impacting operations and quality of life of employees as the Chinese territory's steadfast zero-Covid-19 approach hampered operations for global banks and the quality of life for their employees.
Meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group also pushed for its key executives to be temporarily out of Hong Kong due to the city's stringent pandemic control strategy that caused its management to be grounded, said a recent report from Financial Times. The report said due to Hong Kong's strict pandemic-related restrictions, Mandarin Oriental's chief executive James Riley shared it was not feasible for his team to remain in Hong Kong, where the government closed schools, gyms and restaurants after 6pm to combat a surge in cases.
Riley said as a base to run a business, Hong Kong is "very, very poor today." However, he said recovery will be possible after Hong Kong regains freedom of movement.
Hong Kong is currently focused on containing the fifth wave of coronavirus and told officials to take “all necessary measures”. All schools, gyms, cinemas and public venues are shut and employees have been working from home. This has led to several movie establishments also shuttering their operations in the market.
Moreover, a report in January by AmCham also said that while Hong Kong still holds many business opportunities but an array of issues, international travel restrictions to contain COVID-19 weigh heavily on both company and personal sentiment. With 6 out of 10 businesses are based in Hong Kong as their global or regional headquarters, hefty quarantine rules and travel restrictions continue to cause significant disruptions in offices outside Hong Kong, said the report. Moreover, 30% of respondents say they struggle to fill senior executive roles.
Photos / 123rf