HSBC Holdings Plc’s top automotive investment banker in Asia is leaving to join a Singapore-based car startup, backed by Softbank Ventures Asia, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Ernest Chew, who heads the British lender’s capital goods and automotive investment banking team in the region, will join Carro as its chief financial officer in February, said the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Chew is currently on gardening leave, they said.
Like their predecessors in the 1990s internet boom, Asia’s financiers are leaving top-tier firms to join startups focused on cryptocurrency, biotech and consumers in the hopes of hitting the stock-option jackpot. Brian Gu, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s former chairman of Asia Pacific investment banking, joined electric vehicle company Xpeng Motors last year after more than a decade at the U.S. bank.
Chew’s 14-year stint at HSBC included a period during which the lender acted as an adviser for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group on its acquisition of carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd and Lotus Cars. He will be replaced by Misi Tang, who is joining from rival Barclays Plc.
Carro Chief Executive Officer Aaron Tan declined to comment.
Carro, a Southeast Asian automotive marketplace founded in 2015, raised $30 million in August from investors including Softbank Ventures Asia and Singapore government-linked EDBI, the company said in a statement. The startup also counts Insignia Ventures Partners and Singtel Innov8 as investors. The latest financing brought the total raised by the company to more than $100 million.