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Suddenly the insurance industry is looking trés sexy for job seekers, with several big names saying that Asia is the next big thing. Swiss Re's latest sigma study reports that insurance markets in the region will continue to rise in importance over the next 10 years, even though in the very long run, Africa is expected to be the real industry star.

Swiss Re says that the rise in importance of emerging Asia in the global economy and insurance markets witnessed over the past 20 years is set to continue for at least another decade. "However, demographic patterns suggest that by 2062, Asia's share in the world population will actually decrease from 60% to 53%, mainly due to the developments in China, where the working age population will start to contract from 2018."

Asia's untapped potential is being recognised by a number of big insurers. As eFinancialCareers has recently reported, AXA, Manulife and Standard Life are expanding in the region.

Still raking in the bucks

Fees are up, even though deals are down. The Financial Times quotes a Thomson Reuters report that capital markets have help i-banking generate a 9% increase in fees to USD$$36 billion compared to the equivalent period in 2012, with nearly 60% of that earned in America.

Growth was driven by debt capital markets, which had their best start to a year since 2007, while global equity issuance was up 36% to USD$381 billion. But the value of deals announced globally fell 9.7% to $870bn, even after a late surge of announcements in the second quarter.

Still a contender for FDI

Hong Kong remains a top destination for foreign direct investment according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's World Investment Report 2013, released Thursday. FDI flows into Hong Kong exceeded USD$75 billion in 2012, compared to a revised USD$96 billion in 2011. And the outlook for 2013 is good, with strong capital flows since the end of last year. Hong Kong ranked behind the US (USD$167.6 billion) and mainland China (USD$121 billion) in 2012.

Open sesame

A major bonus for Hong Kong this year could be the Alibaba listing, which - if it proceeds - could raise HKD100 billion (USD12.9 billion) according to Ernst&Young, as reported by The Standard. A HK$100 billion IPO would be Asia's biggest since October 2010, when AIA Group raised HK$159 billion. Companies have raised about HK$40 billion in IPOs in Hong Kong this year, up from HK$16 billion in the same period last year.

On the long march

China Construction bank opened its latest offshore operation this week, with a new office in Taiwan. CCB's overseas operations are spread over 15 branches and subsidiaries in 14 nations and regions, with total assets of USD$100 billion (HKD$780 billion). It plans to add another eight overseas branches in the current financial year.The world's second largest bank is also consolidating its Hong Kong and Asia businesses, but has pledged to leave jobs untouched. After the integration, CCB (Asia) assets are expected to reach HK$530 billion.

HFT growth plans

HFT Hong Kong, a joint venture between BNP Paribas Investment Partners and mainalnd China firm Haitong Securities has big plans for great China and Taiwan. The investment management firm, which secured a qualified foreign institutional investor license in May, has set its sights on launching more products and expanding its advisory business.

New Jefferies hire

Gordon Crosbie-Walsh will join Jefferies as head of Asia equity syndicate and co-head of Asia ECM. He left the JP Morgan syndicate desk earlier this week.

ICAP icaught

A senior executive at British brokerage firm ICAP plc knew that some of the firm’s brokers worked with traders at UBS AG   to manipulate benchmark interest rates, according to the Wall Street Journal, and reported by the ComplianceEX website.  David Casterton was included in some emails sent in 2007 documenting discussions in which UBS agreed to make quarterly payments to ICAP for help in rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate. 

You know you are a finance intern when...

Some light entertainment for Wall Street newbies...if they have a moment in their 20-hour work day.

Follow the author on Twitter @AmandaJVB

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