Kenneth Lee, Asia-Pacific head of debt syndicate at Barclays, resigned last week. Lee was something of a fixture on the bank’s syndicate desk, having worked at the firm for a decade. He joined in 2003, a difficult time in Asia due to Sars, and played a role in helping it grow from a house that was focused mainly on sovereign bonds to one with a broader footprint in debt.
He is leaving to start up his own hedge fund that is dedicated to Asia bonds, but will be on gardening leave until August. Lee, who headed both bonds and loans syndicate at the bank, was based in Singapore up until three months ago, when the bank re-located him to Hong Kong. He will continue to be based in Hong Kong with his new hedge fund venture. According to a source, the opportunity to start a new fund was too big an attraction to pass up.
In the meantime, Wong Ken Wei, a director of syndicate, will be handling bond syndicate at Barclays. Lately, there has been some movement on the syndicate side — since bonuses were paid out. In March, Credit Suisse lost both its syndicate bankers — Devesh Ashra and Hital Desai — who joined rival Bank of America Merrill Lynch. According to bankers on the street, it has been on the lookout for a new head of syndicate for Asia.
Barclays declined to comment.