CGS-CIMB Research analysts Andrea Choong and Lim Siew Khee have maintained “add” on Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) with an unchanged target price of $12.52 on Jan 9, following the news that the bank will be welcoming a new group CEO on April 15.

OCBC Bank made the announcement on Jan 8 that Wong, who will be the bank’s first female CEO, will replace outgoing CEO Samuel Tsien, who will be retiring on April 15.

See: OCBC Bank names Helen Wong as new group CEO; current CEO Samuel Tsien to retire

To Choong and Lim, Wong’s extensive experience in other banks in Hong Kong is a plus.

“We are positive on Wong adding immense value to OCBC, especially given the overlap of her expertise in navigating Greater China and the bank’s strategy of strengthening its franchise in this region, and see prospects of long-term share price enhancement under her management,” they say.

They also see Wong expanding OCBC’s Greater China franchise, from Tsien, who emphasised OCBC’s strategy in expanding into the region, given its vast growth potential.

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As a result, the bank’s Greater China loan book expanded, from $17.4 billion in 2012 to $67.3 billion in 2QFY2020.

In turn, wealth management income rose from $1.8 billion in 2012 to $3.4 billion in 2019.

“We expect OCBC to further leverage on its regional connectivity for growth, aiding the bank’s mainland clients in expanding their businesses in South East Asia and vice-versa,” they add.

As at 1.03pm, shares in OCBC are trading 5 cents lower or 0.5% down at $10.55.