Preliminary meetings draw experienced executives as process starts to build steam.
The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank has not been formally established, but the global hunt for talent has already begun.
In early March, a workshop on the institutional development of the new bank was held behind closed doors in Beijing.
But only one of the attendees shown in a photograph published later was Chinese. That was Jin Liqun, chairman of the Multilateral Interim Secretariat of the AIIB.
The two-day workshop discussed the global financial and banking environment and the social framework of multilateral banks, governing structures and procurement policies. Similar topics were discussed at a meeting of delegates in Almaty, Kazakhstan, at the end of March.
The meetings drew officials from major multilateral financial organizations, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Executives with working experience in international institutions are just what the AIIB is looking for as it seeks to develop standards relating to transparency and lending.
Matthew Dalzell, previously a special adviser to New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who later worked for the World Bank, is now the senior operational expert in the Interim Secretariat, according to his page on LinkedIn, the online business connection website.
Two other foreigners posted information about their roles: one on communications and team coordination, the other on human resources－though their information could not be independently verified.
But it appears the team working for the Interim Secretariat is large. Many employees at the Ministry of Finance have been temporarily dispatched to the Secretariat, which so far has not responded to media inquiries.
Indications are that it’s seeking people with international working experience, fluency in English and practical experience in areas such as environmental protection, public procurement, law and loan approval.
Candidates with related experience and expertise have already been actively seeking roles at the emerging bank. An executive with a major State-owned bank who asked not to be identified said he has been seeking channels to reach the Secretariat since July. He has a number of years of overseas working experience.
“I feel the potential is very bright,” he said, adding that some colleagues he knows were temporarily dispatched to the Secretariat.
The AIIB will launch a formal recruitment program for global elites in the fall, the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Top talent is required for the bank to achieve a high standard of performance, experts said.
The Finance Ministry said earlier that the list of founding members will be finalized as early as mid-April, and it is currently working out articles of association. That task is expected to be complete by midyear, before the bank is formally launched at the end of the year.
As of Tuesday, 35 countries had stepped forward as prospective founding members, while 52 had publicly filed applications to join.
Behind the intensive preparations and talent hunt, a key figure is Jin Liqun, the Interim Secretariat’s chairman. He is a former vice-minister of finance and served at both the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. He is unknown to many, but acquaintances speak highly of him.
“He is an experienced, savvy guy,” said Nicholas Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “He’s hiring an able staff of about 40 people, half from China’s Finance Ministry, half recruited internationally.”