Morgan Stanley is likely to become the first tenant at what will be Hong Kong’s tallest building amid a property crunch in Asia’s financial capital. Financial Times

The International Commerce Centre is due to be completed in 2010. Its 118 floors will make it the third-tallest building in the world.

The US bank has been expanding on the back of mainland China’s economic boom and buoyant Asian markets and now has just over 1,000 people in Hong Kong, double its headcount five years ago.

Morgan Stanley is expected to move at least part of its staff to a new tower being built across the water from Central, the city’s traditional financial district, where rents are rising because of the chronic shortage of space.

Over the past year, many have had to lease additional floors in other parts of Central, or at least reconfigure space to cram in more desks. Morgan Stanley operates across five separate buildings.