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International Banks Seek Gay Asians

A number of international financial companies are setting their sights on Asia’s gays. Their respective missions, however, have hit a few snags on the way

Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, recently  held an unusual recruitment event at Hong Kong university. Lehman’s invitation was specifically aimed at gay and lesbian students who aspire to be bankers.

Encouraged by the success of the presentation and buffet dinner for 50 students, Lehman is planning to extend its initiatives targeting the gay community this year. It will include the bank’s first pro-gay activities in Singapore, the city-state that has become one of Asia’s leading financial centres but where sex between men is illegal.

Lehman Brothers is not the only bank seeking to recruit from Asia’s gay community. Such is the enthusiasm among investment banks that some have banded together to give their Asian events a higher profile, taking it in turn to organise lectures, dinners and other events around a gay or lesbian theme. In November, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Merrill Lynch and UBS co-sponsored a cinema evening in Hong Kong which featured The Bubble, a 2006 film about the gay relationship between a Palestinian and an Israeli soldier.

The international dimension of investment banking is also forcing employers to confront the issue of homosexual discrimination more regularly than their counterparts in retail banking and other more local institutions. A recurring problem is the difficulty of getting investment bankers to relocate to countries that do not offer dependent visas for same-sex partners.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Jan 15, 2008
Tagged: , , , ,
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