Asia IPO bankers continue game of musical chairs with BoA moves

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 18 Apr 2018

FILE- In this Nov. 6, 2017, file photo, people walk by a branch office of Bank of America in New York. Bank of America Corp. reports earnings Monday, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

HONG KONG: The recent game of musical chairs is continuing for bankers selling initial public offerings (IPOs) in Asia, with Bank of America Corp (pic) the latest to announce changes.

The US firm hired 13-year Credit Suisse Group AG veteran Tucker Highfield as co-head of Asia Pacific equity capital markets, it said Tuesday in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. He will work alongside Shu Nagata, who was promoted to Asia Pacific co-head after leading Bank of America’s Japan ECM coverage.

UBS Group AG announced Monday it appointed Hannah Malter as Asia head of equity capital markets syndicate, an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg shows. Malter, who formerly worked as Asia-Pacific chief of staff at the bank, is getting the new role just weeks after rejoining the ECM team to focus on Asia-into-US IPOs.

The moves come at the beginning of what’s expected to be a banner year for listings in the region, driven by share sales from Chinese technology companies. Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp is preparing an IPO in Hong Kong with a target valuation of as much as US$100bil, while food review and delivery app Meituan Dianping is planning a listing at a valuation of at least US$60bil, sources said.

UBS is making changes as the bank also fights a ban on sponsoring IPOs in Hong Kong. They’re not the only moves. Sunil Dhupelia, who was an executive director at UBS, is joining Credit Suisse’s equity capital markets syndicate team, sources said last week. Dhupelia will assume some of the responsibilities that were held by Highfield, they said.

It was only last month that UBS restructured its capital markets group in Asia, combining the businesses that handle stock offerings and debt sales under a single leader. UBS also announced Monday it’s promoting former syndicate head Andrea Casati to vice-chairman of Asia Pacific ECM, the memo shows. A spokesman for UBS confirmed the contents of the memo.

Bank of America also promoted Kevin Su, its Greater China ECM chief, to vice-chairman of Asia ECM, the memo shows.

Anvita Arora was named head of South Asia ECM and Asia Pacific equity-lined origination. She will relocate to Hong Kong from London, where she led equity-linked origination for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the memo shows. A representative for Bank of America declined to comment.

As the bankers trade places, more deals are getting ready to launch. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, China’s biggest insurer by market value, started gauging demand this week for a planned listing of its Good Doctor health-care app. Equity offerings in Hong Kong have already raised US$20.3bil in the first quarter this year, according to Bloomberg data. — Bloomberg

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