For one recent blockbuster IPO deal, Bocom International was missing from the long list of bookrunners that covers almost everything concerning every major foreign and Chinese investment bank in town.
"Our research team thought it (the IPO company) was overvalued," says Tan Yueheng, chairman of Bocom International, without identifying the company.
He says Bocom"s "honest opinion" on that company"s valuation had made it lose some ground among its competitors.
In financial circles, the perceived general view is that the research division of an investment bank often plays second fiddle to other revenue-generating units, and in some cases, it"s forced to come up with an upward and biased valuation in IPO cases that the bank"s investment banking division participated in, but Tan stresses this is not the case with Bocom.
As someone with a research background, Tan says research is the "heart and soul" of Bocom International, and he"ll see to it that integrity in research work does not give way to the profit-driven mentality of an investment bank.
The 56-year-old executive received a bachelor"s degree in finance from the Hunan College of Finance and Economics in 1983 at the age of 21, obtained his master"s degree in economics from the Graduate School of the People"s Bank of China－an esteemed school founded by the central bank－and pursued his doctorate in the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences－the think tank for the country"s top leaders.
Tan is a firm believer that good research is the foundation of investment banking business. Bocom"s research team is directly responsible to the chairman, and the fact that its head of research Hong Hao, who has a reputation for giving honest, if not outlandish views, on the Chinese economy under Tan"s watch, in some way corroborates his defense of independent research.
"At the end of the day, you need to decide as a financial services provider－do you serve just your client, or investors and the entire financial market?"