Old Asia Hands History

Several members have inquired about the background of the Old Asia Hands.

As many of you will recall, there were a great number of bank receptions and functions relating to international banking activities that filled engagement books in the 1970s. These receptions provided a great opportunity for catching up on friends, sharing business observations and swapping stories of the early Postwar days of international banking in Asia. The reception “network” was reinforced by a series of quiet lunches that rotated amongst smaller groups.

The thought occurred to Burgis Coates, who was then with Schroders, to create a way whereby the American bankers who had worked in, or traveled to Asia could all get together on an annual basis to keep the spirit, closeness and camaraderie of those early years alive.

Since good ideas, even in those days, required a working committee, Burgis gathered Walter Berzin of Chemical, Paul Foley of the Thai Farmers Bank, Sherwood Hanft of the Bank of New York, Lloyd Lambe of United Bank of California (who became the first Treasurer), Harold Smith of Manufacturers Hanover, and Bob Wynn of Morgan to bring the idea into reality.

It was agreed the group would be nonpolitical, that it would meet once a year under informal circumstances, and that the dinner theme would move from one Asian country to another, preserving a Pan-Asian theme.

Shortly thereafter, the inaugural dinner was held at the Philippine Center with Burgis as the Dinner Chairman.

See the complete listing of dinners and events on the events page.