Barclays hires Jorge Munoz for Asia ECM role

Deutsche Bank's head of equity syndicate for Asia skips a planned move to London to help Barclays Capital build an ECM platform in Asia instead.

Jorge Munoz, Deutsche Bank's equity syndicate head for Asia who was due to leave the region in the next couple of weeks for a similar role at Deutsche in Europe, has decided to leave the firm altogether and join Barclays Capital instead.

Sources say Barclays has snapped up Munoz for its equity capital markets team in Asia, which it is in the process of building. The UK bank is making a strong push into equities in Asia to match its US presence in this asset class that it gained when it bought Lehman Brothers' American operations at the end of 2008. Barclays has had an ECM team in Asia before, but it has primarily been focused on convertible bonds. Munoz is the first banker hired to focus on traditional ECM business such as origination of initial public offerings and placements.

Munoz will be based in Hong Kong and will have some form of leadership role in the expanding ECM team, although it is unclear what his exact title will be. According to sources, he will be a managing director and will report directly to Matthew Ginsburg, the head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific who joined Barclays in September last year from Morgan Stanley. He will also have a second reporting line to Sam Dean in London and David Erickson in New York, who are co-heads of global equity capital markets. Barclays declined to comment.

Munoz has been an ECM banker with Deutsche Bank for nine years, the last six in Asia. He joined the bank in London in 2001. Before that he worked in ECM at Salomon Smith Barney, also in London.

He was set to return to London shortly to become head of equity syndicate for Europe, a role that Deutsche will now have to fill by other means.

Munoz's replacement as head of equity syndicate for Asia, is already in place, however. The new head, Sumeet Puri, joined Deutsche in February from Morgan Stanley in India and has been working alongside Munoz ever since. Syndication is a familiar role for Puri who was previously head of Asia execution and syndication at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. He transferred to Merrill's India subsidiary DSP Merrill Lynch in Mumbai in early 2007 to take up a new dual position as head of ECM and head of structured origination for India, but left within six months of his transfer to instead help Morgan Stanley build its equities business in India as head of the ECM team at that bank.

It is unclear why Munoz has decided to stay in Asia, although the fact that he will have a wider role within ECM at Barclays -- as opposed to his syndicate role at Deutsche -- would have been a tempting proposition. Barclays is also putting significant resources into this part of the bank and is said to be willing to pay quite a lot to get the necessary talent in place as it expands its franchise. Previously, Barclays was primarily focused on fixed income-related products in the areas of financing and risk management, as well as strategic advisory and some equity-related derivatives businesses.

Barclays Capital, which is the investment banking arm of UK bank Barclays Plc, has been involved in a couple of ECM transactions for Asia-Pacific-based companies this year, including a $160 million follow-on for New York-listed Chinese solar power company Trina Solar in March where it acted alongside Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. However, apart from convertible bonds, the ECM business in Asia is still in its infancy and more hires are expected as it continues to build a footprint in the region.

In parallel with the ECM build-up, the bank is also setting up a cash equities sales and trading business, again leveraging off the platform that it acquired from Lehman in the US. Other recent hires for this side of the business include: long-term Lehman Brothers and Nomura veteran Sigurbjörn "Siggi" Thorkelsson, as head of equities for Asia-Pacific; Mark Sandeford, a former Credit Suisse employee who joined from European hedge fund CQS to become head of cash equities trading for non-Japan Asia and Australia; and Jeremy Norris, who moved across from CLSA to take up a position as head of sales trading for non-Japan Asia.

Earlier this year Barclays hired Steven O'Sullivan as head of equities research for non-Japan Asia; and Anthony Davies as head of Asia generalist sales; and in November last year it brought on board Simon Haynes-Oliver as head of convertibles sales for Asia. 

Barclays' move into equities in this region has been led by Japan, where the firm launched an equity sales and research service in October 2008. The move followed the hiring of about 100 people, mostly from the former Lehman Brothers franchise now owned by Nomura. And it has continued to build its team in Japan ever since.

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