Andrew Cooper, the Asia-Pacific head of corporate finance and structured equity-linked capital markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has resigned from the bank to pursue other interests outside the industry.
The news of his departure, which was confirmed by a bank spokesman and described as “very amicable”, comes only days after it emerged that Michael Luk had resigned from his role as head of debt capital markets for Asia-Pacific after slightly more than one year with the bank.
Cooper, who handed in his resignation the week before last, has been with the firm since 2005, when he joined from J.P. Morgan, and has clocked up 25 years in the investment banking industry. Together with the fact that markets are “back to basics” and clients are no longer that keen to do the type of highly structured deals that he has specialised in, that makes this a good time to seek a new challenge, he said.
Cooper told FinanceAsia that he intends to spend more of his time on a coal mining company that was set up by former Merrill Lynch banker Alex Woodthorpe in 2009. Cooper is a co-investor in the company, which has mining interests in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Cooper was poached by Merrill Lynch in 2005 as head of equity-linked capital markets for the Pacific Rim, which included work on public market deals as well privately placed transactions and restructurings. He assumed the title of head of corporate finance and structured equity-linked capital markets in September last year when he handed over the responsibility for publicly placed convertible bond origination in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan to Nicholas Tye. The corporate finance title followed on from his previous role as head of the corporate advisory group in Asia, which was set up in early 2009 to cater to a then growing need among clients for restructuring of existing capital market deals and for rescue capital.
When he left J.P. Morgan, Cooper was head of equity capital and derivatives markets (ECDM) for the Asia-Pacific region, a position he took on in September 2002. Before that he was based in London and was head of derivatives marketing for the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. He joined J.P. Morgan (or Chase Manhattan as it was then known) in May 2000.
Prior to moving to Chase, he worked at a joint venture set up by Lazard and Credit Agricole, which specialised in structured equity derivatives.
In light of the changing market needs and the fact that it already has a strong team focusing on equity-linked transactions that has been put in place by Cooper, BoA Merrill is unlikely to appoint anyone to the same kind of role that Cooper had, the spokesman said.