Banfield skips Credit Suisse for Lehman

Colin Banfield moves to Lehman Brothers to head M&A as part of the US bank's strategy to build a position in the product in Asia.
Lehman Brothers has poached Colin Banfield from Credit Suisse to head M&A for Asia-ex Japan.

Banfield will be designated managing director and will report regionally to Glenn Schiffman, head of investment banking and globally to Mark Shafir, global head of M&A. A Lehman spokesperson confirmed that Banfield had resumed duties at the firm on September 17.

Sources say that at Credit Suisse Banfield may have had the same title as he will have at Lehman but effectively he covered North Asia. His involvement in other parts of Asia would have been limited because Credit Suisse has only recently started re-building its India franchise and BanfieldÆs involvement in Southeast Asian deals was limited. At Lehman, Banfield is expected to play a larger role in deals across the region, including Australian deals which will be part of his beat.

Banfield moves from a firm which for the first seven months of calendar 2007 ranked number five on completed deals and number seven on announced deals for the Asia-Pacific region in Dealogic rankings to a firm which currently finds no mention in the top 10.

Lehman does, however, have a ranking globally in M&A league tables, ranking fifth for the six months ending June 30 this year.

ôThe growth of our M&A franchise is a top strategic focus for Lehman,ö says Shafir in a written statement. ôMany of our clients are looking to Asia to expand their global presence and there is an increase in the number of Asia-based clients making acquisitions in Europe and the Americas. These cross-border opportunities are an opportunity for us to assist clients by offering the full services of the firm.ö

Banfield is expected to work closely with the existing Lehman coverage bankers, for example Charles Alexander who heads Asia corporate finance with responsibility across products for industries including financial institutions, industrials, telecommunications and technology.

Banfield was a veteran at Credit Suisse where he spent 16 years. He has worked across M&A, corporate finance and equity and debt capital markets in the course of his career in Asia and in Europe.

In February, Credit Suisse moved Paul Calello from his position as Asia-Pacific CEO for the firm to New York to become CEO of the investment banking division worldwide. The move was part of a larger reshuffle of senior managementÆs portfolios at the Swiss bank. The bank took its time to announce CalelloÆs successor and on September 7 disclosed that it had poached Kai Nargolwala from Standard Chartered to succeed Calello.

Booming Asian markets until earlier this year led a number of investment banks to suffer churn and Credit Suisse was among them. But it has also been hiring both for replacements and to strengthen its coverage.

In May, Credit Suisse had shuffled some portfolios internally and appointed Joe Gallagher vice chairman of its investment banking department and head of M&A for Asia-Pacific. Paul Raphael was transferred from Europe to take over GallagherÆs earlier role as head of investment banking for Asia ex-Japan.

Credit Suisse had no comment on Banfield's departure.

For its part, Lehman has been pulling out the stops this year to strengthen its franchise in the region. It has announced more than a dozen senior hires across markets in Asia with an aim to grow headcount by 20% in 2007 itself. This was, no doubt, before subprime woes started to cause turmoil in global markets, but Lehman seems to have been spared too much pain û at least for now.

The US investment bank announced results on September 19 for the fiscal quarter ending August 31 and showed only a 3% drop in profits compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Indeed, Lehman's results contributed substantially to sentiment across stockmarkets improving on September 20.

In May, global head of investment banking Skip McGee told FinanceAsia in an exclusive interview that he believed the firm needed ôadditional firepower in terms of M&A in non-Japan Asiaö. The US bank is obviously hoping that in Banfield it has found at least some of that firepower.
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