It only took a few lessons for Simon, a Global Capital Markets Associate in Hong Kong, to fall in love with surfing. While he doesn’t recall much from that first time out on a surfboard, he’s never forgotten one piece of advice: “Always stand up and look ahead to where you want to go.”
Today he sees plenty of parallels between surfing and his work at Morgan Stanley, where he helps high-growth issuers in the region raise capital. “It’s hard to predict exactly when the next wave—or transaction—will come in. But the key point is always to be ready,” he says.
While putting his surf trips on hold during the pandemic, he’s continued to follow the advice he received that first time he climbed onto a surfboard, always scanning the horizon for next challenge rolling in.
What is a typical day like for you?
Skimming through the overnight headlines and my Bloomberg stock tracker, I always look for meaningful colors and trending topics to share with colleagues and clients. My team serves as the bridge between investors and equity issuers; our responsibility is to give them a snapshot of what’s going on across the markets. As a junior member of the team, I could be settling block trades priced overnight, or I might be speaking with investors on our pipeline and issuers on our roadshow strategies. I also prepare marketing proposals to proactively engage companies that are potential issuers.
What about your background prepared you for your current position?
Leaving my home country for boarding school in the U.S. at an early age and later going to college in New York allowed me to build a global perspective and ability to connect with people of different backgrounds. This mentality is essential in a fast-paced and client-facing environment, as I constantly interact with clients who speak different languages and have different expectations.
What was the most interesting transaction you’ve worked on so far?
Among all the landmark transactions that I have worked on, Li Auto’s Nasdaq IPO is the most meaningful one. I participated from bake-off to pricing and led marketing dialogues among relevant parties. Deemed as the Tesla of China, Li Auto has become one of the frontrunners who are redefining China’s smart mobility industry. It was a truly eye-opening experience to be part of this first-in-class transaction.
How did you come to work for Morgan Stanley?
After graduating from college, I worked on a derivatives trading desk at a different investment bank. I made the move to Morgan Stanley in 2018 because I was offered an exciting role that allowed me to work on the high-profile IPOs in the region. Now I have the privilege to leverage my corporate finance knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture to grow in a dynamic capital-raising environment. Morgan Stanley is the best equity house on the street—joining the winning team was one of the best moves I’ve ever made.
Do you remember what your first day at the firm was like?
I literally knew no one and didn’t have a lot to do quite yet. It’s amazing how things have evolved in just a couple of years; now on any given day, I could be working on three IPOs, two block trades and multiple proposals, all at the same time.
How would you describe the culture at the firm?
It’s really collaborative, and at the same time, people have a lot of expectations of you and from themselves. I think everyone here wants to excel, which can be challenging in such a fast-paced environment. But people also want to see you grow and to bring out the best in you.
In addition to surfing, what else do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a big fan of sports. I do a lot of spinning, boxing and playing soccer. I play on a soccer team for Morgan Stanley Hong Kong, and we won the intrabank cup in 2020.