ABN sets up financial markets advisory unit

Dutch bank hires creates integrated advisory platform.

ABN AMRO has established a financial markets advisory (FMA) unit in Asia following its successful introduction in Europe, the US and Australia last year. A four strong team composed of three senior bankers and one analyst aims to provide the bank's corporate, financial institution and public sector clients with an integrated advisory service for debt funding, risk management and financial investment issues.

By bringing all the bank's advisory functions onto a single platform ABN believes it will be able to provide its clients with a more neutral and rounded service. Since the team will not be pushing one specific type of product, it will be able to offer strategic advice across a range of financing and investment issues. Its coverage will include debt funding, balance sheet optimization, capital structuring, solvency and regulation, risk and value management, portfolio optimization, ratings advisory, transaction structuring, tax and accounting.

Leading the team will be Ming Wong, formerly head of corporate finance and advisory for Northeast Asia at Standard Chartered. Wong has 18 years banking experience and has previously worked as JPMorgan's head of investment banking client coverage in Hong Kong, as well as CIBC's head of financial producs for North Asia.

He will continue to be based in Hong Kong and report to Greg Major, the bank's London-based global head of FMA.

Evert-Jan Zondag also joins the team from ABN AMRO in Amsterdam, where he has worked as a senior specialist in the bank's capital structuring team and as a relationship banker for the last nine years.

The third main member will be William Cuthbert, who moves from London to head ratings advisory in Asia. He joined ABN in 2001 from JPMorgan where he also worked in ratings advisory and prior to that worked in high yield origination at Gleacher Natwest.

The three bankers in Hong Kong will be supported by specialist back-up units in London, which can provide more in-depth analytics and balance sheet modelling. Globally the team currently numbers 50, but Major says the aim is to grow headcount by at least a further 10 people by the end of the year.

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