Christopher Wood (pictured), one of Asia’s best-known market strategists, plans to leave CLSA after almost two decades, the latest in a spate of high-level resignations that have rocked the Hong Kong securities firm in recent weeks.
Wood, whose weekly GREED & fear report is among CLSA’s most popular research offerings, has tendered his resignation, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
At least half a dozen senior CLSA executives, most of whom joined the firm before its takeover by China’s Citic Securities in 2013, have left this year, amid rising tensions with managers of the state-owned brokerage. Wood’s planned departure is the first sign that the exodus is spreading from CLSA’s upper management to its research talent, among the strongest components of a franchise that has struggled to become a major global player on par with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
CLSA’s longtime chief, Jonathan Slone, resigned in February after Citic Securities began to tighten its grip on the business, not least by overhauling the salary structure.
The souring of the tie-up, which was seen as a test of whether a Chinese financial company could successfully acquire and grow an international investment bank, comes amid escalating concerns among some employees that CLSA is losing its independence.
The reasons for Wood’s resignation weren’t immediately clear. The strategist, who often sits near the top of rankings in magazines like Institutional Investor, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A CLSA spokeswoman declined to comment.
Wood, a former Tokyo bureau chief for The Economist who joined CLSA in 2002, made his name by correctly predicting Japan’s era of stagnant growth and bear markets in the 1990s. He also sounded early alarms about the US housing market, warning that a surge in mortgage securitisation would create huge gains in property prices and similar declines once the credit spigot was turned off.