LABJ Insider: Economic Gain

LABJ Insider: Economic Gain
Charlie Crumpley

In one stroke, East West is getting a chief economist at the same time it is expanding its wealth management business.

East West Bancorp, the Pasadena-based parent of East West Bank, one of L.A.’s largest banks, last week announced its new chief economist will be Jason Hsu. He’s the founder and chief investment officer of asset manager Rayliant Global Advisors and an adjunct professor of finance at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has a Ph.D. and has won awards for his research.

As part of the deal, East West has agreed to acquire a noncontrolling interest in Rayliant. The bank company said the partnership will expand the bank’s wealth management business and allow it to provide institutional-quality investment management products and services to its clients.

Rayliant, which Hsu founded in 2016, has offices in Los Angeles, London and three cities in China as well as Taiwan. Its website says, “We develop innovative quant strategies that bring together elements of behavioral finance, data science and local market insights.” It has $16.7 billion in assets under management.

The chief economist job is considered a prestige one. For East West, the chief economist position is new.

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Speaking of promotions, United Talent Agency announced 65 last week. Sounds like a lot – and it is – but most graduated from UTA’s renowned Agent Training Program. UTA’s president, David Kramer, said the promotions “reflect our longstanding tradition of investing in our people.”

The Beverly Hills-based talent agency was quick to point out that diversity was achieved. Women constituted more than 50% of the promotions, while more than 30% identify as people of color.  

Although UTA reportedly trimmed staff earlier this year, it also has been expanding. Besides its offices here, UTA has locations in Chicago; Nashville, Tennessee; New York; London; and Atlanta, which opened in March as the first major talent agency with a full-service office in Georgia.

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Believe it or not, apartment renters in Los Angeles have enjoyed a relative bargain over the past year or so. The median rent for a 1-bedroom here in April was $2,070 – down 1.7% from one year earlier. That’s not a misprint; apartment rents were down over the year.

At least, that’s according to Dwellsy, which claims to be the largest home rental listing platform in the country with more than 13 million residential rental listings, which it mines for statistics and data. 

Of course, “relative” is the key word. Los Angeles remains the fifth most expensive apartment rental market in the country, Dwellsy said. So even though rents have trended down in Los Angeles, apartments remain pricey here.

What’s more, rents may not stay down. Nationwide, apartment rents started increasing in April; therefore, Los Angeles could begin seeing apartment rent hikes soon.

The Insider is compiled by Editor-in-Chief Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Hannah Welk
Hannah (Madans) Welk is the interim editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and

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