Barclays increases equity research focus on Southeast Asia

Anand Ramachandran is appointed head of Asean equity research in addition to his current role as head of the telecom, internet and media sectors.
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Anand Ramachandran</div>
<div style="text-align: left;"> Anand Ramachandran</div>

Almost two years after he joined Barclays as head of telecom, internet and media research, Anand Ramachandran has been appointed head of Asean equity research at the bank, according to a press release. In this capacity he will lead the expansion of Barclays’ coverage of companies in the 10-country region in Southeast Asia.

Jon Scoffin, who is head of research for Asia Pacific, told FinanceAsia that a portion of the investable Asean market is already covered by Barclays through its research teams elsewhere in Asia, but putting someone as senior as Ramachandran on the ground in Singapore will enable the bank to take its coverage to the next level.

The aim is to build Barclays research footprint in the area in a cost-effective manner, which may involve tie-ups with local players, a further roll-out of coverage of Asean stocks by its existing teams and the potential relocation of some analysts to the region. Additional hires are not a key priority this year, Scoffin said.

Ramachandran, who is a managing director, will continue to report to Scoffin, but as mentioned will move to Singapore for his new role. He is currently based in Hong Kong.

Ramachandran has a background primarily in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) sector, but he is particularly known for his coverage of companies in the Asean region. For the past 18 months he has effectively also been functioning as Scoffin’s number two, helping to coordinate the research coverage across sectors, so the role as head of Asean equity research won’t be entirely new to him.

In addition to his new responsibilities, he will continue to cover the telecom, internet and media sectors.

“I am very excited to have Anand, one of our most experienced leaders in Asia-Pacific research, take up this position,” the release quoted Scoffin as saying. “His 16 years [of] industry experience, which include a strong track record covering Asean stocks, as well as deep knowledge of the region, make him the ideal candidate to lead our push into Southeast Asia.”

Mike Di Iorio, head of equities for Asia-Pacific, added that Barclays has a “long-standing commitment to ‘lead with content’ by providing [its] clients with a differentiated research product and Anand’s role will be integral to this aim”.

Ramachandran joined Barclays in May 2011 from Citi. At the time of his departure he was a managing director in TMT global banking after moving from research to investment banking the previous year. Before that he was deputy head of pan-Asian research as well as head of Asia entertainment, media and telecom research, also at Citi. Early on in his career he was based in Singapore, but he relocated to Hong Kong in 2001 in connection with a promotion to deputy head of regional telecom research at Citi’s predecessor, Salomon Smith Barney.

Barclays’ expansion of its equity research franchise into Southeast Asia comes after the bank started to cut investment banking staff in Asia-Pacific in late January as part of a restructuring plan for the overall bank announced by chief executive Antony Jenkins on February 12. The cuts will trim 15% of the investment banking staff in the region, or at least 70 people, sources said at the time.

With regard to the investment banking and equities division specifically, Jenkins said the bank will find cost savings of £300 million ($455 million) per year from front and back office functions and will position the business in Europe and Asia “to fit market opportunities”.

Research is part of investment banking and according to a source, the bank has recently wound up its coverage of two sectors in Asia — China healthcare and China clean energy — and let go of the analysts working in these areas. The analysts covering Hong Kong property and China insurance were also part of the recent layoffs, although the bank intends to continue to cover these sectors and will plug the gap left by the layoffs through other means, the source said.

Aside from Greater China, Barclays has also established research teams in Japan, Korea and India during the past three years.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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