Barclays Capital has made another high-profile hire, luring Jon Pratt back to Hong Kong to head up its debt capital markets business for Asia ex-Japan. Pratt, who is highly regarded in the industry for his origination skills, left Asia last year after becoming a victim of the downsizing that took place following Bank of America’s takeover of Merrill Lynch.
His last job in Asia was as head of DCM for Asia ex-Japan and Australia at Merrill Lynch, which he joined in September 2006 after six-and-a-half years with Credit Suisse. He moves to Barclays from Rockefeller Financials in New York, a wealth management and advisory firm, which he joined in March 2009 as managing director responsible for the coverage of international client relationships. In this role, he spearheaded the expansion of the wealth management firm's global institutional business by developing new client relationships as well as new products and strategies.
At Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank, he will be responsible for managing the Asia DCM business within the global finance and risk solutions group. Working in partnership with corporate finance and debt syndicate, he will focus on both origination and execution.
Pratt, a managing director, takes over from Andrew Jones who has been promoted to co-head of global finance and risk solutions for Asia-Pacific alongside Patrick Kwan, who previously handled this job on his own. Pratt, who has already started with Barclays, is reporting to both Jones and Kwan.
Barclays Capital is sixth in the overall league table for G3 debt so far this year, with $4.2 billion worth of league table credits and 21 deals under its belt. However, it tops the table for sovereign issuance with five completed deals (two more than any other bank) and ranks third in deals for financial institutions.
During his 17-year career in investment banking, Pratt has originated and managed more than 100 syndicated public and private transactions in the region for sovereigns, financial institutions and companies from China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. He arguably played a big role in winning mandates and lifting the debt issuance activity at both Credit Suisse and Merrill and is likely to be forever remembered for having helped to arrange Vietnam's first international bond in 2005, a deal which took the better part of five years to bring to market.
Other high-profile transactions include deals for China Properties Group, ICICI Bank in India and Asia's largest single corporate liability management transaction for the Korea Electric Power Corporation, according to a Barclays release.
The news of Pratt’s return to the region comes a few days after Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it is bringing Matthew Kirkby back to Hong Kong to head up global banking for Asia-Pacific. Like Pratt, Kirkby was a long-time Asia banker who had spent only a few years away from Asia (he left in early 2007 after more than a decade in the region) and it is obvious that the region still has a draw for career bankers. Interestingly, it seems banks are now clearly seeing value in having people with experience and relationships in Asia in key positions here. It is no longer as common that top Asia jobs go to people who are being shipped out to the region from the US or London for the first time.
And while we noted in our story about Pratt’s move to Rockefeller in March 2009 that his leaving investment banking was a sign of the times as many bankers were either forced to or chose to seek out new opportunities as the industry was downsizing following the financial crisis, the same can be said about his move in the opposite direction.